This year's rafting season is one of the deadliest in years.

As of mid-July 12 persons have died and 3 are reported "missing" on Colorado's fast-flowing rivers. Last year was one of the driest and "worst years on record" for the rafting industry. This year's abundant whitewater has translated into more favorable conditions however, also one of the deadliest.

Slowly, the rivers are starting to subside, but at least 12 people have died in accidents on Colorado rivers. Publicity about the deaths has had a negative impact on the Colorado commercial rafting business. The high-water has made some families nervous about hitting the river. So says Mark Hammer, owner of The Adventure Company in Buena Vista. “Industry-wide, I think we’ve all seen a drop in business...we were still getting snow until about the third week in June in the mountains. I don’t know which had a bigger impact, the weather or the publicity of high water but I think the combination of those had a negative impact on business, for sure.”

Last year's drought equaled low and slow water levels. In 2018 there were only two rafting and kayaking deaths in Colorado. 2011 was the last season when Colorado river conditions were similar to what we're experiencing this year. Back then, 9 persons lost their lives on the state’s rivers. Again, 12 have already died in 2019. As is now, those deaths were attributed to high-fast moving water.

Credit: Out There Colorado