Kayaker killed in Carbondale river
An unidentified man was killed Wednesday while kayaking in the Crystal River south of Carbondale.The body of a white male, whose name was not released by Wednesday afternoon, was recovered a half-mile downstream from the BRB Crystal River Resort, said Marie Munday, Pitkin County public information officer.The kayaker’s boat was found approximately one mile upstream from BRB.
Joe DiSalvo, director of investigations and the incident commander during the recovery effort, said the man was wearing a helmet, goggles and booties. He was also wearing a life jacket, but DiSalvo said he wasn’t sure whether rescuers had put the flotation device on the body. “He was clearly a kayaker,” DiSalvo said. There was no evidence the man was kayaking with anyone else, he said. The body was first spotted floating face down near BRB by a motorist on Highway 133. The motorist called 911 at 12:14 p.m. to report the body. That call was followed by numerous calls from travelers on Highway 133 who also saw a body wearing a helmet and life vest in the water.
After the first call, more than 45 rescuers and support staff started to immediately look for the person. Crews came from the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office Incident Management Group, Carbondale Swift Water Rescue, Carbondale Rural Fire Department and the Basalt Swift Water Rescue. About 1 p.m., wearing swim fins, a wet suit, life jacket and using a boogie board, rescuer Frank Nadel stood on the banks of the Crystal before re-entering the water, near where the body was later recovered. He was one of seven swimmers who entered the river, combed riverbanks and searched in “strainers” – or fallen trees – gravel bars and secondary water channels, looking for the kayaker.Spotters kept watch from bridges all the way down to the Crystal’s confluence with the Roaring Fork River in Carbondale. The river, swollen with spring runoff, was running at 1,390 cubic feet per second yesterday, according to Colorado Canoe & Kayak in Glenwood Springs.”I wouldn’t want to be in it, but it certainly wasn’t deafening, as fast as it was moving,” DiSalvo said.
The body was pulled from an eddy around 2 p.m. Pitkin County Deputy Coroner Scott Thompson was working yesterday to identify the body, described only as a white male, and to determine the cause of death. Rescue teams pulled the body from the waterA popular kayaking stretch of the Crystal, from Avalanche Creek to the BRB, is a rated as a Class 3 rapid by the guidebook “Colorado Rivers and Creeks.”