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No Sign Of Male Who Fell Into Roaring Fork River, Search Operations Suspended For Night

PITKIN COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) -- A man who reportedly fell into an extremely rugged whitewater feature called the Devil's Punch Bowl has not been seen since the incident mid-day Wednesday. Searchers suspended their efforts just before 9 p.m. due to darkness.

Pitkin County officials closed Highway 82 for a brief time early this afternoon as they positioned gear and crews along the Roaring Fork River about seven miles east of Aspen.

Pitkin Community Traffic Alert - Highway 82 eastbound is closed at the Independence Pass closure gate, mile marker 47. Expected length of this event is unknown. 06-15-2022 12:45:14 D16/D11

Posted by Pitkin County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Most of the activity centered in the immediate area of the Devil's Punch Bowl near mile marker 50. According to Parker Lathrop, Chief Deputy of Operations for the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office, searchers concentrated on a relatively short distance.

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In the past, Lathrop said, recoveries in this area have generally occurred within a half-mile of the Punch Bowl.

"There's a substantial history with this stretch of river," Lathrop said. "There's a lot of big rocks. There's a lot of pockets where a person could be trapped.

Punch Bowl Rescue 1 (file photo of location, Pitkin Cnty SO on FB)
An undated file photo of the Devil's Punch Bowl. (credit: Pitkin County Sheriff's Office/Facebook)

When searchers return in the morning, they expect a moderate amount of cooperation from lower levels of water in the river. The gates at Grizzly Reservoir upstream from the Punch Bowl were fully closed.

Fighting the natural spring runoff that follows higher temperatures this time of year is another matter entirely.

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Another incident in Mesa County on Wednesday has put an adult female paddleboarder in the hospital in unknown condition. She and five other friends on a kayak and river raft ran into trouble on the Colorado River near the 5th Street Bridge in Grand Junction. The other five friends were able to get to an island. Rescuers shuttled them to shore using a rescue boat.

The woman, however, was missing reported missing at the beginning of the incident. She was found and taken to shore when life-saving measures were performed, then taken on to St. Mary's Medical Center.

Tuesday, a man who fell from a raft was pulled from the Poudre River. He was flown to a Fort Collins hospital and pronounced dead.





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