Accident Database

Report ID# 3470

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Accident Description

San Antonio woman killed in Chaffee County rafting accident identified

By The Denver Post

 06/09/2011:  The woman who died Wednesday afternoon when she was thrown off a commercial raft in a Class IV rapid in Brown's Canyon was identified today. Sue Ann Apolinar, 38 of San Antonio, was swept off the raft when the boat capsized on the Arkansas River at the Seidel's Suck Hole, about 13 miles north of Salida, according to the Chaffee County Coroner's Office. The cause of death will be released pending an autopsy later today. The raft's guide and four passengers were thrown into the river, according to the Chaffee County Sheriff's Office. Another raft picked up three passengers. The guide righted the capsized boat and pulled Apolinar into it. Before the guide could get control of the raft it capsized again in the Twin Falls rapid, and the woman was washed down river into some branches where she became trapped. She was quickly removed from the water and CPR was administered, but she was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Woman Dies In Rafting Trip On Arkansas River

Victim Was On Commercial Rafting Trip Through Brown's Canyon When It Capsized

Posted by Kim Nguyen, Web Editor

POSTED: 9:48 pm MDT June 8, 2011

CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo. -- A Texas woman died Wednesday on a commercial rafting trip through Brown's Canyon near Salida. The 38-year-old woman was in a commercial raft on the Arkansas River when it hit rough waters and capsized around 1:45 p.m., authorities said.

The woman, three other passengers and their guide were thrown into the river at Seidel’s Suck Hole -- a class IV rapid in Brown’s Canyon, said Chaffee County Undersheriff John Spezze. The three other passengers were picked up by other rafts on the 8-boat commercial trip.

The guide righted the capsized raft and pulled the victim into the raft. But before the guide could regain control the raft capsized again in the next rapid called Twin Falls, Spezze said.

The victim was washed into some branches where she briefly became trapped underwater, Spezze said. When she was pulled from the Arkansas River, she wasn't breathing, had no pulse and efforts to revive her failed.

The victim was pronounced dead on scene by a Salida physician. The Chaffee County Coroner's Office will determine her cause of death. The victim's name is being withheld until her family can be notified.

Rafters around the state have been warned about rising water levels this week because of the rapid snow melt. Deputies said the Arkansas was flowing at 3,340 cubic feet per second at the time of the accident.

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