Man dies in Gunnison River

Victim had disappeared underneath roller dam

Search and rescue workers recovered the body of a 38-year-old Grand Junction man Tuesday afternoon after he presumably drowned while swimming near the roller dam on the Gunnison River.

The man’s identity was not released.

The man had entered the river from its southeast bank and was swimming with his nephew when the man said he didn’t think he’d be able to swim back to shore, said a woman at the scene who didn’t want to be identified.

The woman was fishing with members of her family on an island in the river when the nephew started yelling for help and asking members of her family if they saw his uncle anywhere in the water.

“He was totally freaking out,” said the woman, who exited the water and dialed 911.

Emergency dispatchers received a call just before 2 p.m. that someone who had been swimming in the river was seen slipping beneath the water.

The stretch of river east of the U.S. Department of Energy complex appeared turbulent as water rushed over the dam.

Searchers found the man’s body just before 4 p.m., using boats and sonar equipment.

Authorities said he wasn’t wearing a personal flotation device.


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