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Contact: Dan Johnson, Chief of Interpretation and Visitor Services, (435) 781-7702
Dinosaur,CO - The body of a missing rafter has been 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.
Based on interviews with members of the river group, the following is a summary of the event. A 16-member private river trip ran Triplet Falls on Saturday, June 20. After running the rapid, four members of the party hiked back upstream to run a section of the rapid known as the "Birth Canal" with a 9-foot paddle raft. The group made it through the "Birth Canal", but hit a rock shortly below,and the raft flipped, dumping all four occupants into the river. The paddle raft was flushed down river and recovered by other members of the group. Three of the rafters were able to swim to shore. The fourth occupant of the paddle raft, a 34 year old man from Denver, Colorado, was briefly spotted in the water below the birth canal before he disappeared. Members of the group reported that he appeared to be stuck. The 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 the missing rafter for approximately one to 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 group arrived at the Echo Park Ranger Station at approximately 11:15 am where they notified a ranger of the incident. Monument staff contacted Moffat County Sheriff's Office and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to assemble a response team.
The inter-agency response team under Unified Command left Gates of Lodore by boatto Triplet Falls on Sunday evening. The group arrived at Triplet Falls to begin water-based search and recovery efforts on Monday, June 22. The victim was located at approximately 12:30 pm. His body is being transported to Echo Park by raft.
The staff at Dinosaur National Monument expresses their condolences to the family and friends of the victim.
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.