Rescue call heralds start of float season

Sgt. Rich Acree of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department talks to a woman, left, about how she missed the takeout at the Blue Heron boat launch while tubing on the Colorado River on Tuesday afternoon.

Mesa County Search and Rescue teams on two boats were called Tuesday after a 21-year-old woman tubing with friends on the Colorado River overshot her destination.

The woman, free-floating with a group of about half a dozen people, became swept up in a main current of the river and missed the Blue Heron boat ramp, but reached the banks roughly a half-mile downstream, according to deputy John Coleman.

She was wearing a life vest while in the water. Coleman said the trip was her first float on the Colorado.

“Inexperience was a big part of it,” Coleman said.

Authorities were called about 3:30 p.m. The woman was reported safe about 4:30 p.m.

The fast-moving river, which Coleman estimated to be a frigid 55 degrees, is expected to see more traffic with Memorial Day weekend.

Measured at the Colorado-Utah line, the river around 6 p.m. Tuesday was moving at just over 14,000 cubic-feet per second, nearly double the pace from a week ago, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s web page.

Coleman said search and rescue deputies working on three boats will be patrolling the river starting this weekend, and they aim to have some personnel on the river working every weekend.

“We’re just showing presence,” Coleman said. “It seemed to lower incidents last year.”


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