Accident Database

Report ID# 116226

  • PFD Not Worn or Present
  • Does not Apply
  • Cold Water

Accident Description

‘She loved the water’: Victim identified in Clear Creek tubing death

by: Evan Kruegel

Posted: Jul 6, 2022 / 08:33 PM MDT

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office has identified the woman killed in a rafting accident Saturday in Clear Creek.

Ginny Pemberton, 43, died Saturday July 2nd after entering a restricted portion of the river, according to officials. A second person died Tuesday in the same area after officials say he fell out of his innertube.

Friends say Pemberton regularly swam and tubed in Clear Creek. “She knew it very well,” her friend Melissa said. “Like the back of her hand.”

Melissa said Pemberton was using an inflatable tube Saturday near Tunnel 1 when the accident happened.

“They hit the first rapid, and they flipped,” she said. “And she couldn’t get out of the water because of the walls, and then she hit her head.”

Friends say it’s unclear why Pemberton ignored warning signs and entered the restricted area.

“I’ve only known of kayakers going up that far, so I’ve never been up that far,” Melissa said.

On Wednesday, officials issued a warning to avoid the creek west of Highway 93. “This creek is not safe to be in a tube west of Grant Terry Bridge,” said Mary Ann Bonnell, with Jeffco Open Space. “We can’t say it more plainly than that.”



Jefferson County sends warning following two deaths in Clear Creek Canyon

On July 2, a person died while rafting. On July 5, a person died and three others were injured while tubing.

Author: Luis de Leon, KUSA9 News

Published:  July 6, 2022

GOLDEN, Colo. — Jefferson County officials have posted signs at possible entry points along Clear Creek in Clear Creek Canyon just west of Golden, telling the public that you cannot enter the creek with a tube from that point.

Tubing is not currently allowed for people entering from Clear Creek Canyon, but tubers can enter from Golden. The move comes after two deaths occurred in a stretch of the canyon in the span of four days.  Both incidents occurred around, or near the area of Tunnel 1 in the canyon, officials said Wednesday.

On July 2, a rafter died while trying to recreate in the creek.

On July 5, a person died and three others were injured while tubing in Clear Creek.

“Our thoughts are with the families of the deceased over the past four days," said Kasey Beal, the deputy chief for the Golden Fire Department.

Specifically, Jefferson County officials said tubing west of Grant Terry Bridge is unsafe. “This creek is not safe to be on a tube west of Grant Terry Bridge. We can’t say it more plainly, than that," said Mary Ann Bonnell with Jefferson County Open Space.

Bonnell explained that over the holiday weekend, they turned away around 50 people heading in the wrong direction with inner tubes. “The structure of the river becomes more dangerous as you head west," Bonnell said.

It's considered a civil infraction and a $100 fine for violating posted signs, Bonnell explained.

Meanwhile, Clear Creek in general has been under a "yellow flag" status, meaning it's considered unsafe for people under 18 years old to be recreating.

“This canyon is deceiving – it is beautiful, it is wonderful. It is a place to find solitude. But it can also lull you into a false sense of security," said Bonnell.


Don Dowling via FB: Reading into the second article it tells me what I heard in an earlier TV clip the first “rafting” death was more of a single chamber Walmart raft.  The second incident happened on July 5th when 4 tubers flipped and had to be rescued 1 of the 4 passed away after being removed from the river. 


This is on Lower Clear Creek on HWY 6 west of Golden, CO.  Tunnel 1 is the Take Out for the Class 3-4 Lower Clear Creek and the Put In for Tunnel One to the Golden WW Park, it’s Class >3.  Now there is a portage that we do in kayaks and rafts at an irrigation diversion we call “the foot bridge” it is possible that the tubers and the single chamber rafter when over this drop and that would have made for a very rough ride.  It is just upstream of Tunnel One.

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