One dead in Eagle River rafting accident Thursday
AVON — A rafting accident near EagleVail left one man dead Thursday afternoon.
Emergency crews responded to calls around 1:10 p.m. that a raft had flipped in the Eagle River. The raft hit a high wave and then a hole on the other side. It flipped and threw all five men into the river.
Four of the five men in the raft managed to scramble to the riverbank and safety. One ran to find some golfers on the EagleVail course who called 911.
First responders from several agencies, who had been practicing high-water rescues for weeks, were on the scene in moments. The fifth rafter was found floating near the Eaglebend apartments in Avon.
Emergency workers immediately began administering CPR between the river and the pool gates of the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa, as onlookers watched from the pool area and Avon’s Bob the Bridge.
However, attempts at resuscitation were unsuccessful.
The victim’s identity is not being released pending notification of next of kin, according to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.
The five men were on a private trip. There were all in their 20s and 30s and were properly geared up with personal flotation devices, helmets and drysuits.
Although some on social media insisted that the accident happened at a wave dubbed Bob Senior near Avon’s Bob the Bridge, that’s not the case, law enforcement officials said. The accident happened east of Avon, they said.
The wave called Bob Senior was altered and enlarged during the winter.
Cole Bangert with Sage Outdoor Adventures urged caution on the river.
“People have been running it, but you have to run it well. Scout it, pick your line, and run it,” Bangert said.