A Boulder man died Saturday afternoon while paddle boarding in Buena Vista, Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze said.
Michael Robert James, 40, was removed from the Arkansas River at River Runners and pronounced dead at 5: 50 p.m. on June 29.
Spezze said that around 4:33 p.m., the Chaffee County Communications Center “received numerous calls of a kayaker floating downriver from the Buena Vista River Park.”
“Information was received that another boater had observed a body in the water near the Wilderness Aware Center in Johnson Village and this boater was now trying to make contact with the body,” Spezze said. “Emergency personnel and boaters on the water finally were able to pull a male from the water at the River Runners Center.”
An investigation determined that James had fallen off his paddle board in the River Park area and was unable to get back on, being carried by swift, high water downriver.
“Boaters in the water initially tried to rescue James, however he was eventually swept downstream due to high, fast moving water. Another boater located James in Johnson Village and tried numerous times to pull him to safety but once again high swift water prevented this,” Spezze said.
By the time emergency crews, as well as the boater who found James near Johnson Village, were able to take his body out of the river, James had died, Spezze said.
U.S. Geologic Survey data reports toe Arkansas flowing at rates as high as 3,660 cfs at Nathrop during this time.
On June 26, Chaffee County Search and Rescue provided mutual aid in the recovery of the body of Tyler Cline, who was reported missing in Saguache County after while attempting to summit KitCarson and Challenger peaks near Crestone.
Cline lived in Buena Vista and worked at the Asian Palate Thai and Sushi Restaurant on East Main Street.