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Update On Drowning In Green River

Dinosaur National Monument

National Park News

The park was advised of a rafting accident at Upper Disaster Falls on the Green River around 6 p.m. on July 27th.  The eight-year-old victim and his family were part of a commercial whitewater rafting trip that had launched from the Gates of Lodore that morning. At about 3:30 p.m., the boy and his father were paddling an inflatable kayak through Upper Disaster Falls when the craft overturned and both of them went into the water. The father was retrieved from the water by another raft, but the boy was unable to reach the raft and was last seen near the shoreline. Both the boy and his father were wearing lifejackets and helmets when they went into the water. An aggressive search was begun by the rafting party and the boy was found about 90 minutes later. The isolated location of the incident greatly hampered the group’s efforts to obtain emergency assistance. Once notified of the situation, the park and Moffat County Sheriff’s Department coordinated efforts to reach them. CareFlight was requested from St. Mary’s hospital in Grand Junction, but was unable to liftoff due to inclement weather in the area. A local fire helicopter was therefore diverted to assist with rescue efforts. Due to the topography of the narrow river canyon, however, the helicopter was not able to land near the victim and was forced to land across the river.  The rafting group was unable to get him to the helicopter’s location before loss of daylight made both flight and river crossing unsafe.  Guides performed CPR for more than three hours before becoming too exhausted to continue. The rafting group continued downriver about eight miles to Echo Park the next morning, where they were met by Dinosaur National Monument and Moffat County Sheriff’s Department staff.  The boy was identified as eight-year-old Owen Gerson of Woodstock, New York.


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