Bodies of 2 men who drowned at Ruedi Reservoir recovered early Sunday; IDs pending | PostIndependent.com

Bodies of 2 men who drowned at Ruedi Reservoir recovered early Sunday; IDs pending

Jason Auslander and Austin Colbert
The Aspen Times
Ruedi Reservoir is located about 15 miles east of Basalt up the Fryingpan River.
Anna Stonehouse / Aspen Times file photo

UPDATE: The bodies of two men who drowned Saturday afternoon at Ruedi Reservoir have been recovered but their identities have not been released, officials said Sunday afternoon.

According to a news release from the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, a rescue/dive team from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office found the bodies about 20 to 30 feet below the surface and got them to shore about 12:15 a.m. Sunday morning after three hours of searching.

Their bodies were taken to the Eagle County Coroner’s Office, which will release their identities.

“All indications are that this is a tragic accident,” Alex Burchetta, Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office patrol director, said Sunday morning. Burchetta was on-scene for four hours at the reservoir Saturday.

Two men drowned at Ruedi Reservoir on Saturday afternoon, according to an official with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

One of the men was in his 40s, said Michael Buglione, a patrol supervisor with the agency. Communication with law enforcement on the scene was difficult Saturday afternoon because of the lack of cellphone service in the Fryingpan Valley.

Emergency dispatchers first received a call about the drownings at 1:15 p.m. Saturday, said Alex Burchetta, Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office patrol director who was on-scene for four hours at the reservoir Saturday afternoon.

What little information was available Saturday evening indicated that a man yet to be identified was swimming alone near his boat in the lake and struggling, Burchetta said. Another man from the Basalt area on a second boat passing by jumped in to help the first man and both went under the water and were not seen again, he said.

A Sheriff’s Office investigator Saturday evening interviewed a woman who was on the second boat, Burchetta said.

The bodies have not yet been recovered, Burchetta said, though deputies have a good idea generally where they are.

A rescue/dive team from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office was en route Saturday evening to Ruedi with a boat, a dog, sonar equipment and a submersible device that can search underwater, he said. The team — which regularly patrols Lake Dillon — should arrive about 9 p.m. and can get to work immediately, Burchetta said.

Roger Brown, a Basalt resident, was on a friend’s boat at Ruedi on Saturday when they came around a corner and saw two boats tied together and a woman running back and forth between the two screaming, “Help, help, help,” he said.

The woman said someone had a heart attack and a man on her boat jumped in the water to help but never came back up, Brown said. The woman was alone on the boat and Brown said he did not speak with her.

As Brown and his friend got closer, they thought they could see a body in the water, so his friend dove in but could not find it, he said. They then drove back and forth over the area for the next hour and a half using a fish-finder, which Brown said was able to pinpoint the location of the bodies in about 29 feet of very cold water.

Brown’s friend, who owned the boat, later took him back to shore, picked up sheriff’s deputies and drove them to where they believed the bodies were located, he said.