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Body of missing rafter recovered near Florence River Park

Drowning deaths outpacing deadliest year in Colorado so far
arkansas river rafter drowning.jpg
Posted at 12:39 PM, Jun 08, 2022

DENVER — The body of a man who went missing Monday while rafting on the Arkansas River was recovered Tuesday near Florence River Park, according to Fremont Search and Rescue Inc.

The man was reportedly overdue from a float trip on Monday, and the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office contacted Colorado Parks and Wildlife at Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area around 4 p.m. Witnesses had reported seeing a man in distress as he floated by Florence River Park around 12 p.m., according to CPW.

Search crews launched, but the search had to be suspended Monday night due to darkness. On Tuesday, the man’s body and the raft were recovered around 2:30 p.m. just downstream of the park, CPW said.

It’s been a deadly week on the water in southern Colorado. Two other people died in separate incidents along the Arkansas River on Monday.

A private boat flipped in the Sunshine Rapid in the Royal Gorge west of Cañon City on Monday afternoon. Three people were on board, and the victim had lost contact with the boat and tried to swim through the Sledge Hammer Rapid, according to CPW. The victim was rescued from the water but later died from the injuries.

In the second incident, a swimmer was reported missing from a group in Fish Hook Cove in the Lake Pueblo State Park Wildlife Area shortly after 4 p.m. By 5:30 p.m., rescue crews had pulled a body from the 30-foot deep water, CPW said.

In another incident on Tuesday, a father jumped off his inflatable in Lake Pueblo to check on his daughter because he thought she was in distress, according to CPW. He then disappeared in the water. Just after 6 p.m. search crews recovered the man’s body. The daughter was not injured.

Over Memorial Day weekend, a husband and wife — identified Joshua and Jessica Prindle — died after a small boat carrying 13 people capsized on Lake Pueblo during high winds.

Colorado is on track to have its deadliest year on the water if incidents continue at this pace. The worst year for drownings was 2020 with 34 deaths. Eight drownings had been reported as of June 7 of that year. Drownings have already reached double digits this year, according to CPW.