Man dies after raft flips on Eagle River in Avon

Rafter was administered CPR, but the resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful

Staff Report / Vail Daily
Crews responded to a call regarding a flipped raft in the Eagle River.
Nate Peterson / Vail Daily

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 river bank and safety. One ran to find some golfers on the EagleVail golf course who called 911.

The fifth rafter was found floating near Eaglebend Apartments in Avon.

First responders, who had been practicing high-water rescues for weeks, were on the scene in moments and began administering CPR. However, attempts at resuscitation were unsuccessful.

Crews performed CPR on the man in front of onlookers.
Nate Peterson / Vail Daily

Around 1:10 p.m., emergency crews responded to a call regarding a flipped raft in the Eagle River. The call was made after one of the rafters scrambled to get out of the river and alerted nearby golfers to call 911.

 Earlier this afternoon first responders received a report of an overturned raft floating in the Eagle River in Eagle-Vail, Colo. Once on scene, first responders learned that there were five occupants on the private raft at the time that it turned over. Four of the occupants emerged from the water but one was unaccounted for. The unaccounted person was located floating near the Eaglebend Apartments in Avon, Colo.

Several agencies worked diligently to implement a river rescue and were able to locate the fifth individual in the water. Once the individual was pulled from the water CPR was started immediately. The victim was transported to a nearby hospital however the resuscitations efforts were unsuccessful.

The identity of the victim is not being released at this time pending next of kin notifications.

First responders pulled a rafter out of the Eagle River Thursday afternoon and performed life-saving measures on him in front of onlookers just outside the gate of the pool at the Weston Riverfront Resort & Spa.

Four of the rafters were able to get to safety, while one remained behind. Crews rallied behind the Westin pool to rescue the rafter, who was administered CPR and was taken away in an ambulance. His condition is currently unknown, though the man had a heart rhythm prior to transport.

First responders then worked to pull the empty raft up the river bank. Responders have been practicing fast water rescues for the past several weeks in anticipation of high river flows.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s 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.