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Big Drop River Incident



Salida, Colorado


Date for Release: Immediately

On June 12, 2015 the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office continued its search efforts for a missing 11 year old male who fell from a commercial raft into the Arkansas River on Wednesday, June 10, 2015. The victim fell from the raft while in the Big Drop section of water in Browns Canyon. Browns Canyon is approximately 14 miles north of Salida in Chaffee County, Colorado.

Today’s search efforts concentrated on high probability areas that were identified from search efforts the past two days. Search resources today included ground search crews, ATV crews, water vessel crews, air scent dogs and a Heavy Rescue team from the Colorado Springs Fire Department.

At approximately 12:00 pm an air scent dog alerted in the Big Drop rapid section of water. Searchers began probing the area with Pike Poles and dislodged a helmet that matched the description of the same helmet the victim was wearing at the time of the accident. It was then determined that the commercial rafters in the area were hindering search efforts so the Arkansas River was closed to rafting above the Big Drop section of water. Searchers then resumed probing the water and an underwater camera was utilized to possibly find the victim.

At approximately 1:20 pm searchers identified what they believed to be the victim trapped in either rocks or debris underwater in the same general area. Searchers were able to dislodge the victim from the entrapment and the victim was recovered.

The Chaffee County Coroner responded and pronounced the victim deceased. He was then transported to the Chaffee County Coroner’s Office in Salida, Colorado. The Chaffee County Coroner will release the identity of the victim.

At the time the victim was recovered the Arkansas River at Nathrop was running at 3800 cfs. The water in the search area was running extremely fast and high and visibility in the water was at about one inch.

Search crews, totaling 48 personnel, included the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Chaffee County Search and Rescue North and South, Chaffee County EMS and the Colorado Springs Fire Department Heavy Rescue team.