On June 14 at approximately 3 pm, The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center received a report that a private raft overturned in the Poudre River just east of Mishawaka and one of the rafters was unaccounted for. As personnel were responding, the Communications Center was notified by the International Emergency Response Coordination Center that they had received an SOS activation from a supported device in the area.
An adult male was pulled from the river and a citizen witness, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer, and three deputies performed CPR while waiting for medical response. The male was transported in the CPW vehicle to Hewlett Gulch, while CPR was still being performed, where they met a medical helicopter which transported him to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased. By all accounts, the rafters were experienced and had the proper equipment, including the SOS device. This was the second emergency call of the day regarding rafters on the Poudre River.
The Sheriff’s Office wants everyone to safely enjoy the rivers and encourages anyone to call for help when needed. The water is running high and is cold. With that in mind, we encourage river recreators to take a few steps to help emergency responders. Proper gear is essential, including properly fitting life jackets. Permanently write or engrave your name and phone number on all your gear. This includes kayaks, paddles, inner tubes, and life jackets.
If you lose your gear and are unable to retrieve it safely, please call the Sheriff’s Office non-emergency phone number (970) 416-1985 with a good description of the lost items and last known location. Doing so will help emergency response personnel when we receive calls from concerned citizens regarding items seen floating on the rivers. If responders can call the phone number found on the gear and determine no one is missing or hurt, it will prevent a much larger response and search effort which often involves sending emergency response vehicles up the canyon and rescuers into the water, both of which can be very dangerous.