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The stretch of the Upper Colorado River below Pumphouse Recreation Area and above State Bridge is Class II-III whitewater. The river is running around 1,000 cfs in this August 2023 photo. (Jason Blevins, Hablame24)

One man is dead and another missing after their raft flipped Saturday on the Colorado River below Gore Canyon near Radium.

Grand County Search and Rescue responded to the river after a 911 call around 3:40 p.m. Saturday reported a person was not breathing. Another report using a satellite-connected Garmin device indicated there had been a rafting accident and bystanders were administering CPR to a man.

The man, a 56-year-old male from metro Denver, was pronounced dead by emergency responders.

Searchers used a drone and railroad truck provided by Union Pacific Railroad to search for a second man, a 61-year-old from metro Denver, who was missing after their raft capsized. Late Sunday the Grand County Sheriff's Office identified the deceased 56-year-old as Brent Boulter from Aurora. The sheriff's office identified the missing man as Thomas Russell, from Littleton. The office said Russell was still missing as of 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The Grand County Sheriff’s Office said it appeared neither of the men were wearing a personal floatation device, or PFD.

A third person with the two men was able to get to shore.

Searchers said there were three PFDs located with the overturned raft. The raft flipped around Yarmony Rapids in a stretch of whitewater below the Pumphouse Recreation Area. The Colorado River was flowing around 3,200 cubic-feet-per-second, or cfs, which is considered a medium-to-high level. The main rapid in Yarmony has a hole that can flip rafts around 3,000 cfs. 

The accident marks the second fatality of the 2024 whitewater season in Colorado. A woman on a commercial rafting trip died May 30 on the Poudre River west of Fort Collins after the raft struck a bridge pylon. Last year at least 23 people were killed in Colorado’s rivers, creeks and streams.

The Yarmony Rapid is one of the more challenging rapids on the Class III stretch of the Upper Colorado above State Bridge and below Gore Canyon. Last year a 51-year-old Steamboat Springs woman drowned after her raft flipped around the Yarmony Rapid with flows around 5,200 cfs. 

The Bureau of Land Management planned to search for the missing man Sunday and encouraged river users to report any sightings.

Type of Story: News

Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Jason Blevins lives in Eagle with his wife, daughters and a dog named Gravy. Job title: Outdoors reporter Topic expertise: Western Slope, public lands, outdoors, ski industry, mountain business, housing, interesting things Location:...