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Man Drowns After Rafting Accident

Curecanti National Recreation Area

National Park News

On Saturday, May 31st, a 57-year-old Denver man began a raft trip from the Riverway picnic area on the Gunnison River with his wife and three children. As they tried to maneuver their raft around an island near Cooper Ranch, it hit the island and flipped over, spilling all five family members into the river. The woman and her three children were able to make it to the island, but her husband was last seen face down and unresponsive in the river. The woman and children were able to swim to shore and notify a passing motorist, who in turn called 911. Rangers responded along with units from the Gunnison County Sheriff’s Department, Gunnison Fire Department and Gunnison Valley Hospital EMS.  The man’s body was found nearly three miles downstream from the point where the raft flipped. CPR was performed until paramedics arrived and pronounced him dead. Neither of the adults was wearing a lifejacket. Record snowpack in the Gunnison Basin and recent warm temperatures have contributed to dangerously high river flows through this section of the park.  Ranger Erin Warrem was IC.



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