Kayaker’s body recovered from Crystal | PostIndependent.com

Kayaker’s body recovered from Crystal

Post Independent/Carrie Click Frank Nadel, left, and Carl Smith, of the Carbondale Rural Fire Protection District, stand on the banks of the Crystal River, just downsteam of BRB Crystal River Resort, near where the body of a kayaker was found later Wednesday.

Rescuers recovered a kayaker’s body from an eddy in the Crystal River at 2 p.m. Wednesday, 412 miles upstream from Carbondale. According to Marie Munday, Pitkin County public information officer, the body of a white male, whose name was not released by Wednesday afternoon, was recovered a half-mile downstream from the BRB Crystal River Resort.The kayaker’s boat was found approximately one mile upstream from BRB. Joe DiSalvo, director of investigations and the incident commander during the recovery effort, said the man was wearing a helmet, goggles and booties. He was also wearing a life jacket, but DiSalvo said he wasn’t sure whether rescuers had put the flotation device on the body.

DiSalvo said there was no evidence the man was kayaking with anyone else. The body was first spotted floating facedown near BRB by a motorist on Highway 133. The motorist called 911 at Pitkin County Combined Communications dispatch from BRB at 12:14 p.m. to report the sighting.That call was followed by numerous calls from travelers on Highway 133 who also saw a body wearing a helmet and life vest in the water. Munday said rescuers figured that with the river water traveling at approximately 5 mph, the body would have to be located somewhere between BRB and Colorado Rocky Mountain School. After the first call, more than 45 rescuers and support staff started to immediately look for the person. Crews came from the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office Incident Management Group, Carbondale Swift Water Rescue, Carbondale Rural Fire Department and the Basalt Swift Water Rescue. Rescuers scattered between the BRB bridge to the bridge crossing the Crystal River at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School campus and at points in-between.

About 1 p.m., wearing swim fins, a wet suit, life jacket and using a boogie board, rescuer Frank Nadel stood on the banks of the Crystal before re-entering the water, near where the body was later recovered. He was one of seven swimmers who entered the river, combed riverbanks, and searched in “strainers,” or fallen trees, and in gravel bars and secondary water channels, looking for the kayaker. “We have spotters on all the bridges downstream,” Nadel said. At the Highway 133 bridge around 1:15 p.m., rescuers Kevin Greene, Maureen Nuckols and Roger Ball scoured the river for any signs of the boater. “Multiple people called dispatch saying they saw something,” said Greene. “We’re hoping it might just be lost gear that’s floating downstream.” But by 2 p.m., crews received the unwanted confirmation that a body had been found. The Crystal River is peaking this week, and Wednesday was running about 1,390 cubic feet per second, according to Colorado Canoe & Kayak in Glenwood. According to “Colorado Rivers and Creeks,” a portion of the Crystal, between Avalanche Ranch and the BRB, is rated Class III water.

By press time, Pitkin County deputy coroner Scott Thompson was investigating the cause of death and the identity of the deceased.Janet Urquhart of The Aspen Times contributed to this story. Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518cclick@postindependent.com

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