The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office identified William A. Forshey, 54, of Austin, Texas, Tuesday as the victim who died in the Arkansas River Monday. Chaffee County Coroner Randy Amettis reported that an autopsy indicates Forshey died as a result of drowning.
Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Senior Ranger Stew Pappenfort earlier Tuesday told The Chaffee County Times in an email that “after further review we are not considering the death as a boating fatality.
According to a press release from the sheriff’s office, witnesses said the man was kayaking when his boat became high centered on a large rock in the Miracle Mile section of the river.
The Miracle Mile is approximately 7 miles north of Buena Vista, near mile marker 204 on U.S. 24, said Chaffee County Undersheriff John Spezze.
Forshey was on a private kayaking trip, Spezze said. Witnesses reported he stepped out of his kayak and was standing on the shoreline, and his body was observed floating downriver a short time later, the press release stated.
Forshey was pulled to the shore approximately 200 yards downstream, and an unnamed witness quickly started emergency CPR, said Spezze. After Chaffee County Emergency Medical Services attempted to revive Forshey, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office, Chaffee County Fire Protection District, Chaffee County Search and Rescue and the Chaffee County coroner assisted in the incident.