Denver man dies after rafting accident in Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado |

Denver man dies after rafting accident in Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado

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

The body of a 34-year-old Richard “Ricky” Francis Zinter was recovered in the Green River Monday, two days after he disappeared in a rafting accident in Dinosaur National Monument, according to officials.

On Saturday, a group of 16 people rafted Triplet Falls on the Green River. After navigating the rapids, four members of the private rafting party, including Zinter, decided to hike upstream to run a section known as the “Birth Canal.”

The group made it through the rapids on a 9-foot paddle raft but hit a rock shortly downstream, flipping the raft and tossing the four occupants into the river.

Three of the four rafters were able to swim to shore. Zinter was spotted in the water below the rapid before he disappeared.

According to a news release from the National Park Service, members of his rafting party said he appeared to be stuck.

“The rafting party observed that his personal flotation device and one shoe popped to the surface where he was last seen,” stated the press release.

The group searched for Zinter for approximately two hours before continuing downstream to seek additional assistance, stopping for the night at Rippling Brook campsite.

At 11:15 a.m. Sunday, the rafters notified rangers at Echo Park Ranger Station of the incident. Dinosaur National Monument staff contacted Moffat County’s Sheriffs Office and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to form a response team.

The multi-agency response team launched their water-based search and recovery efforts from Gates of Lodore at approximately 5 p.m. Sunday. On Monday, they arrived at Triplet Falls.

Around noon Monday, Zinter’s body was located and transported to Echo Park by raft.

According to the National Park Service, Triplet Falls, which has a Class III difficulty rating, is located in a remote portion of Dinosaur National Monument about 12 river miles from the monument’s northern boundary. The area is surrounded by steep canyon walls rising 1,200 feet and higher above the river.

There is no cell service in that portion of the monument, the National Park Service news release stated, and river flow was approximately 1,670 cubic feet per second at the time of the incident.

Reach Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or Follow him on Twitter @MP_Kelly.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Craig and Moffat County make the Craig Press’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.