Accident Database

Report ID# 3099

  • Caught in a Natural Hydraulic
  • Flush Drowning
  • Does not Apply
  • Cold Water
  • High Water

Accident Description

VAIL, Colorado — A body was recovered from the Black Gore Creek on Friday about a mile downstream from where a missing kayaker was last seen Thursday afternoon, the Eagle County Sheriff's Office said. Authorities recovered the body at about 10 a.m. The search began Thursday and resumed at 7 a.m. Friday morning.

A kayaker, identified as Drew Hunter of Vail, was boating the Class IV Fish Ladders section of Black Gore Creek with two friends Thursday afternoon when he became stuck in a hole — a spot where water pours over an a object and then hits a pool of water, creating a suction effect that can hold a boat underwater — according to his friends. His friends tried to throw him a rescue rope but he was unable to grab it. The kayaker disappeared out of his friends' view as the creek narrowed toward a gorge.

The body was found just east of the convergence of Gore Creek and the Black Gore Creek near East Vail. Officials from Vail Mountain Rescue Group, the Eagle County Sheriff's Office, the Vail Fire Department, the Eagle County Ambulance District and a dive team from Summit County responded to the incident.

It's a rarely run section (comparatively). It is higher up the creek than East Vail. You access it from the old highway (which is now a bike path). It is the Black Gore Creek, before it confluences with Gore Creek at the campground in East Vail. Vertical Drops with some pools between. (IV - IV+ when its going heavy) Have not seen it this year ....not sure if it was raging or not. Hope this turns out better than it seems.....condolences.


Kayaker missing in Eagle County

By The Denver Post

Posted: 06/04/2009 11:18:32 PM MDT Jun 5:

A search for a missing kayaker will resume in Friday morning, Eagle County authorities said tonight. The 29-year-old man, who has not been named, reportedly fell into Gore Creek in the Ladders area about 4:30 p.m. today. The search was suspended at about 9 p.m., according to a statement. The Eagle County Sheriff's Office, Vail Mountain Rescue, Summit County Search and Rescue, Vail Fire and Eastern Eagle County Ambulance are involved in the search.

Body of missing kayaker found in East Vail
By Tom Boyd

June 5, 2009 — The Eagle County Sheriff's Department confirmed that a body matching the description of a 29-year-old kayaker who went missing on the afternoon of June 4 in the Fish Ladder section of Black Gore Creek was found Friday morning in East Vail. The man is believed to be 29-year-old Vail resident Drew Brian Hunter, who was kayaking with friends when he was caught in a hole, swam, and disappeared into a steep and deadly stretch of water known as Black Gore Gorge.

The body was found about a mile downstream of where he swam, according to sheriff's spokeswoman Shannon Cordingly, and near the area where a personal flotation device (life jacket) was discovered Thursday evening. The spot is about 200 yards upstream of the East Vail Water and Sanitation building, above the confluence with Gore Creek, and below a series of extremely violent rapids and waterfalls.

“We’re working on making the confirmation,” Cordingly said, adding that the body is very likely Hunter’s.

Update 12:01 p.m.: Cordingly confirmed in a press release at 11:36 a.m. that positive identification of the body had been made by the Eagle County Coroner.

Cordingly said assistance from the nearby National Guard High Altitude Aviation Training Center (HAATS) was instrumental in the recovery. More than 40 people from the Eagle County Sheriff's Office, Vail Mountain Rescue, Summit County Search and Rescue, HAATS, Eastern Eagle County Ambulance, Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, Vail Fire, and the Salvation Army assisted in the rescue effort.

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