3 Survive Rapids Attempt With Wal-Mart Raft Man Nearly Drowned After Raft Flipped
VAIL, Colo. -- Two 12-packs and a raft bought at Wal-Mart by three 19 and 20-year friends were no match for Class III rapids on the upper Colorado River between Radium and Rancho Del Rio. One man, Thomas Williams, nearly drowned when the raft overturned last Sunday. He was rescued by a nearby rafting guide. "I was under for so long I just blacked out," Williams told the Vail Daily. "I didn't realize I was being dragged along by the river."
Class III rapids, on a scale of 1 to 6, include a large continuous set of waves with small drops, ledges or waterfalls. Scouting is suggested for all but the most experienced rafter. Williams described the trio's attempt without proper equipment or lifejackets as simple "stupidity." His two friends managed to swim to shore, but not before they suffered scrapes from the knees down and were stripped of most of their clothes. Williams suffered a hairline fracture on his ankle.
The adventure is nothing new to Williams, who said he also seeks thrills skateboarding, snowboarding and bungee jumping. "If I didn't do that stuff I'd be a lazy couch potato," he said.