First responders are called in two rafting incidents on Sunday.

This year's record snowpack and runoff have Colorado rivers running higher and faster than they have in years. The white water is making for a busier rafting season, unfortunately, it also means more incidents and accidents. Aspen area first responders were called in two separate accidents on Sunday.

The first involved two persons rafting Roaring Fork River just south of Jaffe Park. Aspen Fire Department along with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office rescued the rafters. Neither was seriously injured.

An incident later that afternoon proved more serious. A nine-raft party hit a challenging section of the river known as a "hydraulic" that overturned three rafts. Local dispatchers received a report of "...rafts flipping and several people in the water." Two were hurt and transported to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs. Of the three that overturned, one was stuck in a tree, the other two did manage to make it to the river's edge.

Local safety officials want to remind the public of the dangers of rafting in high water:

  • Hazards will change on a daily basis. Always check conditions before embarking upon a rafting trip.
  • Not all swift-water hazards can be seen from the surface. Even gentle stretches of water can have dangerous undercurrents.
  • Debris and tree snags can trap a person underwater. Debris also can puncture rafts.
  • Riverbanks can be unstable, breaking away without warning.
  • Hypothermia is a real concern. Waters are colder as rivers run deeper, creating deadly situations even for strong swimmers.

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