Searchers Recover and Identify Body of Missing Rafter

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Date: June 23, 2015
Contact: Dan Johnson, Chief of Interpretation and Visitor Services, (435) 781-7702

Dinosaur, CO –The Moffat County Coroner's office today released the name of a 34-year old man from Denver who perished in a rafting accident on the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument on Saturday, June 20, 2015.

The body of Richard Francis Zinter was recovered by search and rescue staff from Dinosaur National Monument, Moffat County Sheriff's Office and Colorado Parks and Wildlife near Triplet Falls on the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument at approximately 12:30 pm on Monday, June 22. 

Based on interviews with other members of the group of rafters Zinter was traveling with, Zinter and three others were passengers in a raft that flipped in a section of Triplet Falls on the Green River after hitting a rock. All four rafters were dumped into the river. Three of the rafters were able to swim to shore. Zinter was briefly spotted in the water before he disappeared. Members of the group reported that he appeared to be stuck. People in Zinter's rafting party observed that his personal flotation device (PFD) and one shoe popped to the surface where he was last seen. The group searched for Zinter for approximately two hours. The group then continued downstream on their rafts to seek assistance. They stopped for the night at Rippling Brook campsite as it was getting dark and did not want to risk rowing in the darkness.

On Sunday, June 21, the rafting group arrived at the Monument's Echo Park Ranger Station at approximately 11:15 A.M. where they notified a ranger of the incident. Monument staff immediately contacted Moffat County Sheriff's Office and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to assemble a response team. 

After conducting water-based search and recovery efforts, the inter-agency response team under Unified Command located, recovered and transported Zinter's body to Echo Park by raft. The Moffat County Coroner's Office soon after began their investigation into the accident and released Zinter's name after working with and notifying his family.

The staff at Dinosaur National Monument wish to express their sincere condolences to the family and friends of Richard Zinter. The family has requested that in lieu of sending flowers, individuals may make a donation to the KATA Foundation (www.katafoundation.org/) in Richard's name.

Triplet Falls, which has a Class III difficulty rating, is located in a remote portion of Dinosaur National Monument about 12 river miles from the monument's northern boundary. The area is surrounded by steep canyon walls rising 1,200 feet and higher above the river. There is no cell service in that portion of the monument. River flow was approximately 1,670 cubic feet per second (cfs) at the time of the incident.



Last updated: June 23, 2015

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