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Local man killed in tragic accident

Operated machine slid into river, trapping him
Emergency workers responded Monday to the 2500 block of East Animas Road (County Road 250), where a man died after his skid steer tipped over into the Animas River, trapping him inside underwater. The man was not immediately identified.

A Durango man was killed Monday when his skid steer slid into the Animas River, trapping him inside.

The machine toppled into the river on its roof. Workers broke out a window with a hammer but were unable to free the man. The machine’s cab was flooded, said Karola Hanks, Durango Fire Protection District fire marshal.

“We were able to turn the vehicle over using our mechanic’s pickup ... which has a crane on it, but unfortunately we were too late,” Hanks said.

Authorities did not release the man’s name pending family notification. Dan Bender, spokesman for La Plata County Sheriff’s Office, said the victim was a local man in his early 30s. He apparently was working for a contractor clearing brush away from the river’s edge.

The incident was reported at 11:23 a.m. at 2501 East Animas Road (County Road 250). The home is in the Animas Valley on the river’s east side.

The man was in a skid steer with a brush hog attached, Hanks said. The machines can be used for a variety of tasks, including clearing heavy brush.


Aug 5, 2014
Local skid-steer operator identified

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