Accident Database

Report ID# 3945

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

Accident Description

Two separate boats flipped, one man from each of the boats killed

Two men, one a Utahn, drowned after their rafts overturned along a wild stretch of the Colorado River near Moab late Thursday. The Grand County Sheriff's Office on Friday identified the victims as Adam Ericksen, 27, of Bountiful, and Charles McLynch, 50, of Bay Shore, N.Y. The men were in separate rafts that were overwhelmed about 1:30 p.m. Thursday by runoff-swollen rapids in the Funnel Falls area of Westwater Canyon, about 54 miles upriver from Moab. The men were unresponsive by the time they were pulled from the river by other rafters, including several others who were thrown into the water.

McLynch was a passenger in a raft that was part of a commercial trip operated by Moab-based Sheri Griffith River Expeditions. Ericksen was in a private raft, Grand County Sheriff Steve White said. "Apparently, there were several rafts that had gone through [Funnel Rapid] then the Griffith boat flipped and the private boat came through behind them and flipped," White said. Efforts to revive Ericksen and McLynch at the scene were unsuccessful and the men were pronounced dead. Their bodies were turned over to the Utah Medical Examiner's Office. No other injuries were reported.

The incidents were under investigation. At least four other people have died while rafting the canyon over the last 16 years, The Associated Press reported.

2 die in rafting accident on Colorado River in Utah

Associated Press Updated: June 5, 2015 at 4:16 pm •
MOAB, Utah (AP) — Two men have died while whitewater rafting on the Colorado River near Utah's eastern border with Colorado, a sheriff in Utah said Friday.The Grand County Sheriff's Office identified the men as 27-year-old Adam Ericksen of Bountiful, Utah, and 50-year-old Charles McLynch of Bay Shore, New York.The men were riding in separate rafts on the river through 17-mile Westwater Canyon when their boats overturned Thursday afternoon, Sheriff Steven White said. Other boaters pulled the men back into their rafts but the men were unresponsive and later pronounced dead, White said.The men's bodies have been sent to the Utah State Medical Examiner's Office to determine the cause of death.
Westwater Canyon, the stretch of whitewater along the Colorado River in Utah, is a narrow section of the river with rough water, lots of rocks and steep cliffs on both sides.
Water is running high on the river, adding floating debris such as tree limbs, in addition to faster currents, White said.The canyon includes more difficult Class IV rapids, and at least four other people have died while rafting the canyon over the last 16 years.
The area where the rafts flipped is in a rapid called Funnel Falls, about 54 miles upriver from the city of Moab. Several other rafts flipped earlier Thursday in that same section, but there were no injuries reported, White said.
McLynch's raft was part of a trip by commercial touring company in the area, Sheriff's Lt. Kim Neal said. Five others were on his raft.Ericksen was on a private rate with three others, Neal said. 
From: Herm Hoops

The Colorado is rising pretty fast and is around 20,000 which as you know is noisy, powerful and swirly…  but in my book certainly not as difficult as in the “terrible Teens.”
 I’ll forward any new information on this incident as I get it.
Hey Herm,
I did a 1-day on WW yesterday and had no idea what was going down behind me.  We were the first boat through the canyon. My daughter rowed me through in a single boat and World Wide Exped caught up with us at the take-out.  When I got home about an hour & 1/2 later a buddy from Western called to check on me because his owner had sent out a note saying two boaters had drown that day in the canyon, one commercial and one private.  The only other trips we knew about were a Western group, a Sheri Griffith trip, and another two person private. The commercial fatality didn't occur on the Western trip thus we knew it was the Griff.  We were talking to two experienced guys from Moab at the put-in named Craig and ??? (I forget). Each was rowing a 12-13 ft cat.  Strange to think one of them might not be with us anymore.
Anyway I'm curious if you've heard anything.  This happened close to home for me since I was on the water yesterday.  


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