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Six rafters unharmed after scary flip and swim

A raft with six people aboard flipped just downstream from Smelter Rapid on Sunday afternoon. After a long search, all rafters were rescued and were uninjured.

A raft carrying six rafters flipped on the Animas River just downstream from Smelter Rapid at about 4 p.m. Sunday. Emergency responders were called, but the rafters were uninjured and accounted for.

A man who was aboard the raft but declined to give his name said the raft got caught in an eddy. After three rotations, the raft flipped.

“Praise God for the safety here,” the man said. “You’ve got to be ready to rescue each other and swim. It’s not for beginner swimmers.”

The other rafters declined to comment or give their names.

The Animas River was running at 3,950 cubic feet per second at 4:30 p.m. The median for the date is 2,660 cf/s.

Teresa Collipp of Cortez was watching from Santa Rita Park when she saw the raft flip and a woman go under the water.

“We thought the party was over,” she said.

The rafters became separated after the raft flipped, and there was an emotional scene as all six were reunited on the bridge south of Santa Rita Park. Firefighters gave them blankets to warm up.

cslothower@ durangoherald.com

Jul 27, 2021
Animas River too high, too cold to raft without life jackets
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