This last week was tragic for three different groups recreating on the rivers of Colorado.
Tubing is a popular pastime in the summer on Colorado Rivers, with many options such as a lazy float or rapids. There are many natural parks as well as water parks designed for kayakers, stand-up paddlers, surfers and inner tubers. Some parks have been maintained for safety with sharp rocks removed. However, rivers are unpredictable and current and water flow can change rapidly. This last week Colorado rivers saw 3 separate deaths while tubing that were all ruled accidents by authorities.
A 43-year-old man died Saturday July 22nd while tubing on the Platte River, South of Denver. He was tubing with his fiance and friends when he lost his tube and got swept into some plants along the edge of the river near the Platte River Campground. A camper saw him face down and people pulled him from the river. The attempts to revive him failed according to Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and The Denver Post.
On Friday July 21st a 48-year-old woman flipped off her inner tube on Clear Creek, a tributary of the South Platte River in North Central Colorado. The woman resurfaced downstream where she was pulled from the river and given CPR by Golden firefighters who were at the scene within two minutes of the 911 call. They tried to resuscitate the woman and performed a technical rescue 30 feet up an embankment to the road where she was taken to a hospital by ambulance, said Golden Police and The Denver Post.
On July 16th a 31-year-old man fell off his inner tube and was injured at the Animas River Whitewater in Southwestern Colorado near Durango. The man, Manuel Gallegos of Albuquerque, New Mexico was taken off life support Thursday July 20th. Jeff Fairbanks was at the river to surf the popular Corner Pocket, he was taking a break from surfing when he saw a man without an inner tube coming through the rapids above.
“Gallegos was not wearing a personal flotation device or a helmet. Jeff Fairbanks, a Durango resident, said Gallegos went through Corner Pocket and Ponderosa rapids, possibly hit a rock, and surfaced face down below the Whitewater Park where the current calms.“He went through Corner Pocket, and he was under for a couple seconds, and to me, that was my red flag,” Fairbanks said. “He was lifeless, slightly blue and his eyes were glassy,” Fairbanks said in a previous interview. “He showed no signs of life until the medics and professionals got there.” said Fairbanks, according to The Durango Herald
Fairbanks said he jumped in to find Gallegos, he was found and immediately given CPR by a female kyaker on the rocks in the river, according to the original article by The Durango Herald. The Durango Fire Protection EMS arrived and were able to bring back a pulse and blood pressure, but the man never regained consciousness according to La Plata County Coroner Jann Smith and The Durango Herald