Man, 45, drowns on river float trip

A Mesa County sheriff’s deputy comforts a grief-stricken woman, at lower right, after a drowning Saturday along the Colorado River east of Palisade.

A 45-year-old man drowned Saturday afternoon in the Colorado River north of Castle Drive in Palisade.

The man, whose name and hometown haven’t been released, was floating with at least two other people down the Colorado River when a North River Road resident called 911 at 3:17 p.m. to report a problem, said Palisade Fire Department Chief Richard Rupp.

Upon arrival at the scene, emergency personnel from the Palisade Fire Department and Mesa County Sheriff’s Department found the man about 25 feet from the riverbank in less than 2 feet of water, where two of his companions were attempting cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Rupp said.

Emergency personnel brought the man to the bank, where they performed CPR for about half an hour, Rupp said. They were unable to revive the man and he died at the scene.

After CPR efforts ended, the man’s female companion lay beside him and wrapped her body around his, weeping while emergency workers stood nearby. Another man in the floating party paced the riverbank. A purple, a bright yellow and a light blue plastic inner tube were caught on rocks slightly downriver from the scene, and Rupp said he believed they belonged to the floating party.

None of the three adults was wearing a life vest, Rupp said, adding that alcohol may be a contributing factor because he could smell it at the scene. He said Saturday afternoon that the sequence of events that led to the accident hadn’t yet been determined.

While waiting for the Mesa County coroner to arrive, Rupp observed at least two other floating parties pass by on the river and noted that nobody in them was wearing a life vest.

“Any time you’re on the river, or on any water, you need to have a life preserver on,” Rupp said. “And when you’re on the river, leave the alcohol at home.”


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