Vail woman identified as Upper Colorado River rafting fatality |

Vail woman identified as Upper Colorado River rafting fatality

Randy Wyrick
Vail Daily

VAIL — A Vail Valley woman has been identified as the victim in a fatal boating accident Monday on the Upper Colorado River.

Elyssa McCreight, 32, was rafting the Colorado with several friends in rafts and kayaks when she died, according to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office. Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis confirmed her identity.

McCreight was a native of Reynoldsville, Pennsylvania, and lived in the Vail Valley, according to her social media pages.

Boaters who had recently been on the Upper Colorado said a hard-shelled fishing dory was stuck in Boneyard Rapid between Yarmony and Rancho del Rio.

The boat in which McCreight was riding collided with that drift boat and became high-centered, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The other people riding in McCreight’s boat jumped out and swam to shore. McCreight became trapped, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Emergency responders from Eagle and Grand counties pulled McCreight from the water. She was non-responsive to CPR efforts.

Rescuers called it a tragic accident.

“There were many people there who were very skillful,” said Dan Smith, with Vail Mountain Rescue.

McCreight’s death was the state’s second river fatality this week.

Bryan Reim, 35, of Delta, reportedly drowned Saturday, after jumping into the Gunnison River’s Escalante Canyon potholes about 50 miles south of Grand Junction, Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee told the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office urged caution around streams and rivers.

“The dangers of high-water runoff can be fatal, as debris and river conditions change daily,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.

If a boater’s life is in danger, then call 911 immediately and do not put another’s life at risk to rescue when first responders are trained and equipped for these incidents, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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