Accident Database

Report ID# 3506

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

Accident Description

Kayaker dies in Eagle River

By The Denver Post

Posted: 06/26/2011

A kayaker died on the Eagle River on Saturday after the craft overturned in the fast, swollen river. At 2:30 p.m., police received a call about a kayaker who flipped near the Eagle County Fairgrounds, according to a news release from the Eagle County Sheriff's Office. The kayaker, who was on a private river trip, was pulled from the river about 1 mile downstream. The kayaker was wearing a life preserver and helmet, police said. The kayaker's name had not been released.

Vail Mountain Rescue, the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District, the Gypsum Fire Protection District, the Western Eagle County Ambulance District and the Sheriff's Office assisted on the call. Officials continue to urge everyone to use caution in and around waterways in the area, as rivers and streams are running high and fast. There have been at least four fatal accidents on Colorado rivers in June. Winter's heavy snowpack — three to four times its normal depth in some parts of northwestern Colorado — has been slow to melt until recently because of cool spells in the high country. That could mean a prolonged period of whitewater.

Kayaker who died on Eagle River identified as John Novak, 31, of Minturn

Real Vail – June 26, 2011 A kayaker who died on the Eagle River Saturday afternoon near the Eagle County Fairgrounds was identified Sunday as 31-year-old John Novak of Minturn, according to Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis. Novak was on a private, non-commercial river trip on the Eagle River with two friends, according to police. He was wearing a life preserver and helmet at the time of his death.

The cause of death will not be known until an autopsy is completed later this week, Bettis said. Agencies assisting in the recovery of Novak included the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Vail Mountain Rescue, Greater Eagle Fire Protection District, Gypsum Fire Protection District and the Western Eagle County Ambulance District. The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office is urging everyone to use extra caution in and around the valley’s waterways as this is the time of year when rivers and streams are running high and fast, especially given last winter's record snowpack.


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