Four rafters on Colorado are rescued near bridge

Four people were rescued Saturday from the Colorado River east of the 29 Road bridge after their rafts were ensnared by tree branches.

The four were traveling in two rafts that were tied together, when one got caught in branches hanging from an island in the middle of the river, and the raft began to deflate, according to Grand Junction Fire Department Battalion Chief John Williams.

Williams said he did not believe anyone was injured in the incident.

The passengers called for help and someone heard them and called 9-1-1, Williams said. Grand Junction and Clifton fire departments and the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department responded to the call and used three boats to rescue the rafters and bring them to shore.

Three of the people were from Missouri, and one was local.

Two of the rafters were wearing life jackets.

About three hours before the Saturday afternoon incident, rescuers were called to a spot in the river near the Broadway bridge to aid a kayaker whose craft overturned in the water. The kayaker was able to get out of the kayak and float to the area of High Country Court, where he was given a ride to his car downstream, Williams said. The kayaker was not injured.

“The river is below flood stage, but it’s still cold, and it’s moving very, very fast,” Williams said, adding the river is full of large pieces of debris.

“It’s been awhile since we’ve seen the river this high and this powerful this late in the runoff season.”


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