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Texas woman dies in rafting accident


On July 24, 2014 at approximately 12:00 pm there was a whitewater related boating accident on the Arkansas River in Chaffee County, Colorado. The accident occurred at the Pine Creek Rapids, a class 5 section of water located approximately 14 miles north of Buena Vista, Colorado. The Arkansas River was running at 853 CFS at the time of this accident.

According to witnesses the raft, a commercial rafting trip owned by Timberline Tours, entered the Pine Creek Rapids when the guide fell from the boat. The raft continued downstream a short distance and became lodged in a large suck hole. The boat rotated and threw several occupants into the river. All were able to swim to shore with the exception of the victim. The victim continued downstream a short distance and was pulled to shore by a safety kayaker who was in the area at the time of the accident. Emergency CPR was administered immediately. Chaffee County EMS arrived on scene and continued CPR however attempts to revive the victim were unsuccessful. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

The victim was later identified as Mary Johnson, 57 years of age from Dallas, Texas.

Other agencies assisting with this incident were the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Chaffee County Search and Rescue North, Chaffee County Fire and the Chaffee County Coroner.