ANON CITY, Colo. — A woman died in a rafting accident on the Arkansas River on Sunday, the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office said. The woman, 61-year-old Debra Lynn Brymer of Iowa, died after falling out of the raft west of Canon City. She was on a trip with Echo Canyon River Expeditions. Staff said they were able to get Brymer back into the raft, but she was not breathing and they immediately began CPR. Medical staff arrived and also performed CPR, but it was unsuccessful and Brymer was pronounced dead at the scene. Brymer was with her husband and grandson at the time of the accident. Investigators believe it was an accident and no foul play is suspected. The cause of death will be determined after an autopsy.
A woman in her 40s died after falling out of a commercial raft into the Arkansas River below the Royal Gorge Sunday afternoon, Fremont County authorities said. “She died on scene,” said Fremont County Sheriff’s Sgt. Megan Richards. Neither the name of the woman nor the company was released.
The woman died by the river west of Cañon City, between the bridge at the base of the gorge and the city, near the Parkdale Recreation Area, Richards said. The cause of death hasn’t been established.
Deaths while rafting sometimes happen during high flows. About 10 people a year die while boating in Colorado, on average, including kayakers and rafters. The state’s whitewater rafting industry draws hundreds of thousands of people a year.
“The runoff has started a little bit,” Richards said, “but the river is not really high.”
The woman who died during a rafting incident Sunday in Cañon City has been identified. Debra Brymer, 60, of Nashua, Iowa, was on a rafting trip with husband and grandson when she fell out of her raft and then stopped breathing, a news release from the Fremont County Sheriff's Office said.
According to a news release sent Monday from the Fremont County Sheriff's, deputies responded at 1:55 p.m. to U.S. 50 near Parkdale on a rafting accident.
"Staff from the Echo Canyon River Expeditions called 911 stating that while rafting the Arkansas River west of Cañon City, a female fell out of the raft and was not breathing," the news release said.
Fremont County Coroner Randy Keller said she was pronounced dead on the scene and an autopsy will determine the cause of death. He believes the cause will be determined as either cardiac arrest or drowning.
The FCSO news release said that Echo Canyon River Expeditions staff was able to get Brymer back into the raft after she fell out, but she was not breathing.
Staff then began performing CPR immediately but were not successful.
Foul play is not suspected.
Mike Kissack, president for the Arkansas River Outfitters Association, said that the river in the Royal Gorge is at 1320 cfs or cubic feet per second.
"We describe one cubic foot being the equivalent to a basketball," Kissack said.He explained that if you were standing by the river flowing at 1320 cfs, that many basketballs would be passing by every second.
"It's a moderate flow and it is a great time of the year to be out on the water," Kissack said. He said that the river usually is at its highest toward the end of May or beginning of June because of the spring runoff.
Kissack, who also owns American Adventures Expedition in Cañon City, said that every outfitter takes the safety on the water seriously. He said, on average, guides will take up to an hour before getting in the water to discuss the conditions of the river, risks rafters may run into, what to do in case they come across something unexpected and all safety cautions in general.
Guides are required by state regulations to have 50 hours of training on the water. Kissack said that most of the guides he knows have more than double the required number of hours.
He also said that every person who goes on a rafting expedition is required to sign a liability waiver.
"They're always risks involved, especially when you're working with Mother Nature, but it's those risks that also attract people," Kissack said.
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