Rafting accident on San Juan River takes life of Indiana woman


By Chris Mannara

Staff Writer

A guided rafting accident on the San Juan River led to an Indiana woman being swept away downstream prompting a swiftwater rescue to be enacted on the morning of June 20.

The incident occurred on a guided raft tour in which one of the boats flipped causing everyone to fall out of the raft into the river, according to Archuleta County Emergency Operations Deputy Director Christina Kraetsch.

Outside of one woman, everyone that was a part of that raft excursion was able to find the raft and grab hold, Kraetsch explained.

The woman who was swept away downstream had been in the water for about 15-20 minutes, Kraetsch indicated.

“Down by Red Ryder there are kind of, like little islands, and a neighbor called in and said there was a female on the island out in their backyard out on the river,” Kraetsch explained.

The raft guides were able to catch up to the woman on the island and started performing CPR, according to Kraetsch.

“They did CPR on her and loaded her into a boat at one point, the raft guides did, and ferried her across to the side where all the first responders were parked,” Kraetsch explained.

When the woman was placed into the ambulance, medical personnel were still performing CPR, Kraetsch added later.

Pagosa Fire Protection District Chief Randy Larson added that another person was transported to the hospital with “minor” injuries.

The woman was pronounced deceased by Archuleta County Coronor Brandon Bishop Thursday afternoon at Pagosa Springs Medical Center.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.