Search for kayaker on Crystal called off

Authorities Tuesday night suspended a search on the Crystal River below Marble for a man missing since Saturday after his kayak overturned.

Gunnison County Undersheriff Randy Barnes said the multiple-day search for 39-year-old Uriah Shaffer was called off due to the difficulty presented by high-water conditions and staff resources.

Shaffer, whose driver license gives a Grand Junction address but may have last been living in Carbondale, was kayaking with others when he went missing on the river where it parallels County Road 3 below Marble.

“(Tuesday) morning we had 38 people in the water” along with ground teams working the riverbanks, Barnes said.

Dive teams, search-and-rescue groups and law-enforcement and other entities from several counties had been searching for him.

Barnes said crews dealt with debris in the fast-moving river and tried to search “strainers” where debris hangs up, but the conditions made search efforts difficult and endangered those involved.

“I wish we could have found him but nature has taken its course,” he said.

He said deputies will continue to look for Shaffer along the riverbank.

“I am very hopeful that we find his body so we can give closure (to his family), but that is out of our hands right now,” he said.

Area rivers are expected to peak later this week, noted Barnes, who held out the possibility for an active river search to resume once water levels dropped.


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