Paddleboarder Swept Away and Killed | Search Called Off for Missing Rafter | At Least 8 Deaths in Colorado Runoff

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Buena Vista Park, CO. Credit: Buena Vista

A 40-year-old man’s body was recovered Saturday night from the Arkansas River, CO as the result of a paddleboarding accident.

According to Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office, Michael Robert James of Boulder was paddleboarding at the Buena Vista River Park when he fell into the water. The water was high on Saturday, running close to 4,000 cubic-feet-per-second just below Buena Vista, reports the Colorado Sun.

According to witnesses, James fell off his board and wasn’t able to get back on. Multiple boaters attempted to rescue James, both initially and downstream, but he was swept away in the high and fast-moving water.

In a separate incident, authorities have called off future large-scale search operations for a 57-year old missing rafter in the Poudre River.

On Saturday, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office was notified that a group of three rafters were in the Poudre River after their inflatable raft came out from under them. Two of the rafters managed to make it out of the river but were separated from the third rafter, identified as 57-year-old David Smith of Fort Collins.

Crews from multiple agencies spent the weekend searching a 12-mile stretch of the river, but they did not find Smith. The search was called off at about 3 pm on Sunday.

At least eight people have died in Colorado waters this season. Authorities are warning the public that as the plentiful snow melts out of the mountains, the waters are running high and fast.

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