Date
Victim
Victim Age
River
Section
Location
Water Level
Difficulty
Cause Code(s)
Injury Type(s)
Factors Code(s)
Private/Commercial
Boat Type
Status

Accident Description


PAPAGOSA SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4)– A rafter was killed during a guided rafting trip on the San Juan River. The woman, who has not been identified, was killed when the commercial raft flipped north of Pagosa Springs on Thursday morning.

 

According to the Durango Herald, the raft flipped just below the confluence of the West Fork of the San Juan River and the main stem of the river.  That section is considered a Class 4-Class 5 run running about 2,000 cubic feet per second.

After the raft flipped, the woman was swept downstream, traveling about three miles in 15 to 20 minutes. She was wearing a personal flotation device, a helmet and a wetsuit.

 

A guided boat caught up to the woman and a guide started performing CPR on an island in the river. She was passed to emergency responders but pronounced dead at Pagosa Springs Medical Center a short time later.

 

The woman has not been identified. The commercial rafting business has not been identified.

 

Pagosa Fire Protection District Chief Randy Larson said a raft on a commercial trip flipped just below the confluence of the West Fork of the San Juan River and the main stem of the river north of Pagosa Springs.

 

The section of river is considered a Class 4/5 run, located a few miles above the tamer town run through Pagosa Springs. As of Thursday, a water gauge just north of Pagosa Springs reported the San Juan River running above 2,000 cubic feet per second. Not a 4/5 run- solid 3-4 according to local paddlers. The main access points are privately owned, with access for commercial trips only.

 

Casey Spoores: If the chain of events is correct, and it happened above the town then it would appear to me to be a flush drowning (knowing the medical side might take a bit to figure out.) This is mostly a bigger wave run. No real holes to speak of until you get to the play park in the town. There are not any good Eddie's in this section in the middle of the river. Mostly on the sides and those would be hard to get if you did not have experience in the water or were fatigued.

 

Woman dies during rafting trip on San Juan River north of Pagosa Springs

 

Authorities say victim was in water 15 to 20 minutes after boat flipped

By Jonathan Romeo, County & environment reporter

Thursday, June 20, 2019

 

A woman died in a rafting accident Thursday morning on a guided trip on the San Juan River, north of Pagosa Springs.

 

Pagosa Fire Protection District Chief Randy Larson said a raft on a commercial trip flipped just below the confluence of the West Fork of the San Juan River and the main stem of the river.

 

The section of river is considered a Class 4/5 run, located a few miles above the tamer town run through Pagosa Springs. As of Thursday, a water gauge just north of Pagosa Springs reported the San Juan River running above 2,000 cubic feet per second.

 

Larson said emergency personnel were alerted around 10:30 a.m. that a woman was in need of rescue.

 

Though others in the flipped boat were able to grab onto the raft, the woman was swept downstream, traveling about 3 miles in 15 to 20 minutes, Larson said. The woman was wearing a personal flotation device, a helmet and either a wetsuit or drysuit, he said.

 

Eventually, a guided boat was able to catch up with the woman on an island in the middle of the river, and a guide started performing CPR. She was loaded onto the boat and taken across the river where emergency responders were waiting, Larson said.

 

The woman was pronounced dead at Pagosa Springs Medical Center. Larson referred all questions about the manner of death to Archuleta County Coroner Brandon Bishop, who did not immediately return calls seeking comment Thursday afternoon. Larson did not know the name of the woman, her age or where she was from. He also did not know the name of the company running the guided trip.

 

jromeo@durangoherald.com

 

Indiana woman killed in San Juan River rafting accident identified

 

POSTED 6:31 PM, JUNE 27, 2019

 

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

DURANGO, Colo. — Authorities have released the name of a woman who died in a rafting accident on a guided trip on the San Juan River in southwest Colorado.

 

The Durango Herald reports 43-year-old Amy Kirsch, of Evansville, Indiana, was thrown from a raft in a whitewater section of the river north of Pagosa Springs on June 20. Kirsch, who was with her husband and three teenage children, was swept about 3 miles downstream.

 

A guide in another boat caught up to her on an island in the river and started CPR. Kirsch, who was pronounced dead at a hospital, was wearing a life jacket, a helmet and either a wetsuit or drysuit when she fell into the water.

 

Calls to the rafting company — Pagosa Rafting Outfitters — weren’t returned