Two people died in separate incidents along the Arkansas River Monday, Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced.
Two people died in separate incidents on Arkansas River today. @COParksWildlife Rangers responded to a flipped boat in the Royal Gorge that left 1 man dead. Then a swimmer went missing in Lake Pueblo. Rangers recovered the remains at 6:30 p.m.— CPW SE Region (@CPW_SE) June 7, 2022
The first incident happened mid-afternoon in the Royal Gorge west of Cañon City. According to CPW, a private boat with three people aboard flipped in the Sunshine Rapid. The boat was part of a two boat trip.
The victim lost contact with the boat and tried to swim through a rapid known as Sledge Hammer, CPW said.
The victim was pulled from the water downstream, and commercial rafting guides who were in the same area performed life-saving measures until emergency medical technicians (EMT) arrived, according to CPW. However, the victim succumed to their injuries and was pronounced dead.
“While we continue to investigate, this appears to be a tragic accident,” said Tom Waters, Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area park manager. “We offer our condolences to the family and friends of this victim.”
The second incident happened a short time later downstream in the Lake Pueblo State Wildlife Area. A swimmer went missing from a group in Fish Hook Cove, according to CPW.
Rangers were called around 4:06 p.m., and arrived to the cove by boat around 4:19 p.m.
CPW says a remote operated vehicle (ROV), also known as an underwater drown, was used to search the 30-feet deep waters. A body was discovered an hour later.
“This is yet another senseless loss of life," said Joe Stadterman, park manager at Lake Pueblo. “We are all heartbroken to lose yet another park visitor. Especially so soon after the two recent drownings here. We will continue to educate our guests to recreate responsibly and to wear life preservers when on or near the water.”
If confirmed as drownings, the two deaths would bring the total to 11 drownings in Colorado in 2022, according to CPW. In 2020, a record 34 people drowned in Colorado.