60-year-old uses cheap inner tube to float river in Dinosaur | CraigDailyPress.com
Noelle Leavitt Riley

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60-year-old uses cheap inner tube to float river in Dinosaur

The confluence of the Yampa and Green rivers happens at Steamboat Rock (pictured) near Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument.

A Tennessee man's inner tube was sucked out from under him due to strong river currents near Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument late Tuesday afternoon. According to monument staff, the man’s “cheap Walmart inner tube” was part of the issue.

The 60-year-old tourist — whose name was not released — was camping at Echo Park with his wife and opted to get in the water several yards up from the campground.

Luckily, he was wearing a life jacket when he lost his floating device near the confluence of the Green and Yampa rivers near Steamboat Rock, said Dan Johnson, chief of interpretation and visitor services at the monument. The man suffered no major injuries.

"He was basically trying to float from the confluence to where he was camping at the Echo Park campground," Johnson said, adding that the man did not have a rafting permit, as required by the park.

When his wife — who stayed on land — saw that he lost his inner tube, she ran to the ranger site at the campground for help.

The man was able to swim to the shoreline, but there was a steep slope, so park staff used a rope to get him to safety.

"These are really strong rivers," Johnson said. "We don't want any kind of accident to happen. Part of the reason we have the rules and regulations in place is to enhance people’s safety."

Dinosaur National Monument is in both Vernal, Utah and Moffat County, and has strict rules on river permits, which are required for all river trips. Tuesday’s incident is still under investigation and no citations have been issued yet.

Adult Personal Flotation Devises are also required. Find a link to river rules here.