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River
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Gage
Water Level
Difficulty
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Cause Code(s)
Injury Type(s)
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Experienced/Inexperienced
Private/Commercial
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Accident Description


51-year-old Littleton woman drowned in Arkansas River rafting accident

Scott Willoughby, Denver Post file

Rafters navigate the Zoom Flume section of the Arkansas River in Browns Canyon National Monument near Salida in 2015.

By Kirk Mitchell, Denver Post

PUBLISHED: July 4, 2016 at 7:58 am | UPDATED: July 4, 2016 at 11:47 am

A 51-year-old Littleton woman drowned Sunday afternoon in the Arkansas River after falling from a raft in an area called the Zoom Flume. Sandra Johnson was the first rafting casualty in Chaffee County during the 2016 season, according to Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze.

Johnson was on a River Runners raft at about 12:30 p.m. when she was ejected into the water in Browns Canyon about 15 miles north of Salida, Spezze said. The Zoom Flume, where she disappeared under the water, is a level 4-rated section of the rapids, he said.

Johnson’s body was later pulled from the water. Rescuers attempted CPR, but attempts failed and she was pronounced dead at the scene, Spezze said.

Chaffee County Search and Rescue, the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Chaffee County EMS all responded to the emergency.

CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo. -- A woman died on Sunday after she fell from a commercial raft in the Browns Canyon area of the Arkansas River in Chaffee County, police said. The woman was identified as 51-year-old Sandra Johnson of Littleton. The sheriff’s office says the raft hit a rock in the rapids, a class 4 rapid section of water, and Johnson was ejected. She was pulled to safety and CPR was started, however those efforts failed and she was pronounced dead at the scene. This is the first rafting fatality in Chaffee County of the 2016 season, according to officials.