Accident Database

Report ID# 50091

  • Equipment Trap
  • Swim into Strainer
  • Does not Apply
  • Cold Water
  • High Water
  • Inadequate Equipment
  • Inexperience

Accident Description

An unfortunate series of missteps caused a fatality on the lower section of the Gunnison river just west of the City of Gunnison, CO. This “Guided” SUP trip from McCabe’s was led by an inexperienced guide, the group was given improper equipment, & this section of water was dangerous at the time for anyone but advanced river users. Incident: Wheelies & Waves owner (that did not have swift water rescue training at the time) took out a group of SUPers (some 1st time river SUPers) during a high water day (4400 CFS+) where numerous river advisories had been issued for the area as well as various closures above Gunnison Whitewater Park. The group is believed to have been wearing surfers ankle leashes which are not appropriate for down river SUP use & is the likely cause of getting caught in a strainer. 
The first woman to die on the Gunnison River on Friday was apparently paddle boarding when she fell into swift currents near County Road 32, just west of Gunnison.
“Shortly after entering the river the 31-year-old female lost control of her board and later got hung up on a tree that was in the water,” the county sheriff’s office said in a news release.
She was pulled from the water and eventually taken to Grand Junction for medical care before dying. The Gunnison County Coroner’s Office identified her on Monday as 31-year-old Sarah Schultz of Oklahoma.

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