GRAND COUNTY - A 25-year-old Pennsylvania man had died after being thrown from his kayak along the Colorado River on Thursday. The Grand County Sheriff’s Office was called to the Gore Canyon at about 6:10 p.m. on a report of a possible drowning. When authorities arrived on scene they found a man deceased on the shoreline of the river. Friends of the man told deputies that the kayaker was about 1 mile up the river from the Pump House launch area when he was thrown from the kayak. The victim’s body was located at about 9 p.m. His kayak has not yet been found. Officials say the incident appears to be an accident. The Grand County Sheriff’s Office and Grand County Coroner are investigating.
The Grand County Coroner’s Office has released the name of the kayaker that died in Gore Canyon on Thursday, August 11. James “Jaime” Page, 25, of Pennsylvania drowned while kayaking according to Public Information Officer for the Sheriff’s office, Lt. Dan Mayer. Mayer said the incident appears to be a tragic accident and does not appear suspicious. Page was a very experienced kayaker and was kayaking with a friend who was also an experienced boater. Other people on the river assisted in locating Page and pulled him to the shore. The Grand County Sheriff’s Office is still trying to locate and recover Page’s kayak and dry bag from the river. The kayak is orange and has a light blue Pegasus sticker on the front. The dry bag may contain Page’s cell phone and personal items, which will be returned to his family. Rafting companies and law enforcement agencies down river have been notified and asked to notify the Grand County Sheriff’s Office if anything is located. Communication is key in this situation because someone unaware of the body recovery may think there is someone missing if they see an empty kayak floating down the river. The Sheriff’s office has contacted other counties as well in the event that the kayak travels outside of Grand County down the Colorado River. Anyone with any information regarding Page’s personal property is asked to contact Lt. Dan Mayer at 970-531-1776.
The death is a critical reminder of how important river safety is. Page was very experienced in whitewater, and his unfortunate accident is an admonition that there is no such thing as being too cautious, especially in rapids like the ones in Gore Canyon. Though it does not appear that Page or the boaters he was with made any mistakes during this incident, safety reminders are always good: Never boat alone; always have other members of your party setting safety at rapids of higher risk; have other members ready with throw ropes as each person navigates their way through the rapid; and be familiar with the rapids in Gore, or be with someone who is familiar.
This was the second death in Gore Canyon this season, though the two incidents are very different.
Authorities located the body of a missing kayaker on Saturday, July 23 near the “Applesauce” and “Fisherman’s Nightmare” rapids in Gore Canyon. The body was identified as Patrick “Mac” Maccormick Kelsall, 19, of Avon. Kelsall, however was not in his kayak when he went missing, and it was determined that he fell in the water at night while his friend was out collecting firewood. According to a press release, the entire search and recovery encompassed 1,088 official work hours and included the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, Grand County Search and Rescue, Summit County Sheriff’s Office, Summit County Search and Rescue, Summit County Water Rescue, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Vail Mountain Rescue, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Flight for Life. Some of Kelsall’s family and friends were also included into a supplementary ground searches and kayak searches of the river.
Gore Canyon was flowing at 1,090 cubic feet per second (cfs) as of Thursday, Aug. 15.
Obituary: James David Charlton Page
We lost Jamie on August 11, 2016, in a kayak accident in the Gore Canyon of the Colorado River in Grand County, Colorado. There was nothing grand about it, except perhaps the remarkable beauty of the mountains and valleys all around, no doubt part of what drew Jamie there. He was working as a safety kayaker (such irony) on the Arkansas River for the Royal Gorge RaftingCompany in Cañon City, Colorado, and had found a true home among a community of like minded souls doing every day what he loved most in the world.
Jamie had developed into a world class kayaker who wanted nothing more than to spend every spare moment on a fast-running creek or river. On work days he escorted tiers of rafts through the whitewater of Royal Gorge in his kayak, pulling “swimmers” from the rapids when they could not reach their raft, and on days off he paddled with friends on nearby rivers. He was happy with his place and his companions in that world, and had set as a goal for himself competing in kayaking in the 2020 Olympics.
Born April 13, 1991, Jamie was 25 years old. He was thoughtful, generous, sincere and much loved and admired by friends from high school and college, and throughout the kayaking, rafting, and outdoor communities both in Colorado and North Carolina/Tennessee, where he had gone to school and worked previously. You can see many of their moving comments and loving tributes if you find on Jamie’s Facebook page.
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Jamie grew up in Swarthmore, attending Swarthmore-Rutledge School, Strath Haven Middle School, and Strath Haven High School, where he graduated in 2009. In his early years he was very active in SRA/Nether Providence baseball, basketball, and soccer. At the high school he played trumpet in the marching band, and could often be seen running the flag in front of the bleachers after Strath Haven touchdowns. He was an important part of the Stage Crew/Tech Crew working on theater productions, and ran on the Cross Country team.
At Warren Wilson College, a small progressive private college in Asheville, North Carolina, Jamie spent his first semester on a 72 day Outward Bound program with other incoming freshmen and women camping and canoeing in the Pisgah National Forest and Florida Everglades. This set the tone for his college career as he was inspired to major in Outdoor Leadership and minor in Environmental Studies.
He spent summers working as a whitewater and water safety counselor for kid’s camps, and as a river instructor for North Carolina Outward Bound. In 2013, his senior year, Jamie captained Warren Wilson’s collegiate level national championship paddling team, and was the Men’s Kayak individual national champion. Most recently Jamie had worked for Smoky Mountain Outdoors, as a whitewater rafting guide on the Pigeon River in Hartford, Tennessee, but he spent as much time as he could, at any time of the year and in any weather, running Class III, IV, and V rapids on rivers throughout western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and West Virginia. Recently he had begun to video his experiences with his trusty Go-Pro camera, to post regularly on YouTube, and to write about life on the rivers and among the whitewater family.
On August 16 large gatherings were held in his honor by members of the rafting and kayaking
community both in Hartford and in Cañon City. He was remembered as an energetic, humorous, trusted, and relentlessly positive young man whose smile never left his face for long. The motto among his grieving Colorado friends quickly became, “Smile for Jamie.”
Jamie is survived by his parents, Joy Charlton and David Page of Swarthmore; two sisters, Lindsay, of Budapest, Hungary, and Charlotte, of Swarthmore and Asheville, North Carolina; aunts and uncles on both sides of the family, and many, many cousins. Friends wishing to honor Jamie are welcome to join our family at the Swarthmore Friends Meeting
House on Saturday, September 17, at 2 p.m., for an informal gathering in his honor, with a reception to follow. Those who wish to make a donation in his honor can do so at americanwhitewater.org, a solid nonprofit working on behalf of America’s rivers, the enduring veins of the land.
Submitted by the Page Family