A Colorado Parks and Wildlife search team's two-day recovery effort came to an end midday Monday when divers from Pueblo County Search and Rescue recovered a body in the water at Clear Creek Reservoir.
The search was triggered by reports that a teenage boy was missing after the canoe he and a friend were in capsized due to high winds Saturday.
CPW officers responded to the 911 call Saturday evening and began a search and rescue mission for the two boys, who were paddling in the 407-acre lake, a State Wildlife Area, following a day of duck hunting, said Bill Vogrin, the public information officer for CPW's Southeast region.
"The father of one of the boys arrived about the same time as CPW officers and swam out toward the boat. He was able to grab one of the boys. But he struggled trying to get back to shore in the 33-degree water and swimming against 20 mph winds," Vogrin said in a news release. "CPW Officers Kevin Madler and Zach Baker entered the water to save both the man and boy."
The second boy was not found in the boat, however. CPW river rangers from the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, Lake Pueblo State Park searched through the night, "criss-crossing the water with sonar equipment until about 4 a.m. Sunday," Vogrin said.
Sunday morning, the search resumed, assisted by the CPW Marine Evidence Recovery Team based in Littleton, using an underwater drone equipped with sonar, lights and video.
The search continued through Monday morning, when the MERT unit located the remains at about 12:30 p.m. about 270 yards from the shore in water 25 feet deep, Vogrin said.
The remains were turned over to the Chaffee County Coroner, who will determine a cause of death and make a formal identification of the victim.
Monday, Buena Vista School District Superintendent Lisa Yates identified one of the boys in the accident as Eli Flowers, adding this statement to her typical weekly updates regarding COVID-19:
"Our thoughts and prayers extend to the Flowers family this weekend as they hold their son, Eli, who is recovering from a tragic boating accident yesterday. Eli was rescued from icy water while preparing to duck hunt with a friend.
"His friend, who while not enrolled in our schools, is a friend to many of our students, is missing with search and rescue still hard at work. We are surrounding both families today and in days to come.
Crisis counselors with SolVista health were available at Buena Vista High School throughout the day Monday, Yates also said.