Searchers return to Punchbowl area to look for woman missing in Roaring Fork River near Aspen
Search crews have returned Thursday morning to the area on the Roaring Fork River near the Devils Punchbowl to look for a woman who was swept downriver Wednesday and has not been located.
After searching until nightfall Wednesday, officials returned to Aspen to put together a plan and went back out early Thursday morning to the popular swimming hole on Independence Pass east of Aspen.
In a news release Thursday morning, officials said “no sign of the young woman was found by nightfall, when search efforts were suspended. Limited searching was conducted after nightfall with night-vision equipment.”
The woman who is in her early 20s and was in the area on a day trip with friends and family was trying to cross the river just below the bowl “and was swept downstream by the strong current,” according to the news release. Initial reports were that she might have jumped into the swimming hole.
Emergency dispatchers received a call about the incident at 4:34 p.m. from a man who drove down the Pass to a call box at the winter closure gate to report it, Jesse Steindler, patrol captain for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, said Wednesday night. He said the woman was near the popular spot close to the Grottos and was swept downstream.
Searchers are looking along the approximately one-mile stretch from the Punchbowl downriver to the bridge at the Weller Lake trailhead. A drone from the Aspen Fire Department also is being used in the search.
This is a developing story that will be updated.
Facing traffic woes and oncoming growth, officials are looking at road improvements.