Accident Database

Report ID# 16494

  • Flush Drowning
  • Does not Apply
  • Cold Water
  • High Water

Accident Description

Iowa man dies in Taylor River accident

Drowning suspected as cause of death

Will Shoemaker

Times Editor

A 52-year-old Iowa man died Wednesday on the Taylor River after falling out of the raft in which he was traveling. Russell Zieglowsky, of Washington, Iowa, fell overboard around 2 p.m. Wednesday while on a commercial trip conducted by Scenic River Tours, said Gunnison County Sheriff Rick Besecker.

Besecker was unsure how long Zieglowsky was in the water, but eventually the man was pulled onto a raft where CPR was performed. He was not able to be revived.

Gunnison County Coroner Frank Vader said that the apparent cause of Zieglowsky’s death was accidental drowning.

In recent days, water managers with the federal Bureau of Reclamation have ramped up releases from Taylor Park Reservoir dam to avoid the reservoir “spilling.” This has created high water and turbulent conditions in Taylor River. Releases were increased to 700 cubic feet per second (cfs) on June 12, 800 cfs on June 13, 900 cfs on June 15 and 1,200 cfs on June 19.

Around the time the accident occurred Wednesday, the Taylor River at Almont was flowing at a rate of 1,660 cfs, according to stream flow data reported by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Scenic River Tours co-owner Matt Brown said the incident occurred on a fairly easy stretch of the river.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to the family at this trying time," Brown said.

Look for more in the June 29 edition of the Gunnison Country Times.

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