Editor's note: The body of Joseph "Joey" Goodwin, who went missing while tubing on the Platte River under circumstances described below, has been found. Learn more at JOEY GOODWIN, R.I.P.: BODY OF MISSING TUBER FOUND IN THE PLATTE. Continue for our previous coverage.
Original post, 6:04 a.m. June 22: Last week, we told you about the death of Jason McKain, former co-executive director of the Colorado Progressive Coalition, who drowned while fly-fishing in Boulder Creek.
The incident highlighted the danger constituted by high waters in Colorado — and unfortunately, more tragedy followed over the weekend.
Joseph Goodwin vanished while tubing in the South Platte River; he's still officially listed as missing.
Meanwhile, three others died in Colorado rivers, with one of them, Steven Kelly of Parker, perishing after a tubing expedition on the Arkansas River near Pueblo.
Kelly wrote on Facebook about challenging the river in advance.
"I am going down the river tomorrow by myself," he noted on Saturday morning, June 20. "I will not die. God is with me and it is my time for a river float.... I have to do this. My brain is over the top with the run I will experience....any thoughts?"
Then, about nineteen hours ago at this writing, Kelly shared a video under the caption, "It's about that time."
In the video, he captures footage of the river, then himself.
"Here we have a little tide," he says. "Check it out. It's going quick. Looks very do-able. I'm going to do it. Fuck it. Love you all. God bless — and I have a fricking voyage to get to."
Shortly thereafter, at about 11:30 a.m. according to KRDO-TV, Kelly drowned near the Cottonwood picnic area along the Arkansas, in the Pueblo area.
Here's the Facebook video.
Other fatalities include a thus-far-unidentified Grand Junction resident. The Aspen Times reports that he fell from an inflatable kayak into the Fryingpan River, a waterway in the Basalt area.
In addition, CBS4 reveals that a rafter apparently drowned in the Green River not far from Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument. At this time, he has not been ID'd.
And then, there's Goodwin, a twenty-year-old former Marine.
Goodwin is in great shape, as witnessed by photos on his Facebook page. Here's one example....
...and another, even better one:
Nonetheless, the South Platte's current proved too much for him.
At around 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 20, the Sheridan Police Department received what it describes as "a report of a subject in distress in the Platte River just north of West Union Avenue."
Upon their arrival, officers were told that Goodwin had fallen off an inner tube and went into the river. Witnesses said he surfaced and went under several times, with a number of people trying and failing to reach him. Then he went below the water again and didn't return to the surface.
A search for Goodwin was conducted on Saturday and again on Sunday, with multiple agencies taking part.
Yesterday, the search was called off, although authorities are still encouraging people in the area to be on the lookout for Goodwin.
In the meantime, Goodwin's family shared the following statement, as reproduced by Fox31:
“Joey Goodwin is loved by all. He is an energetic, courageous, caring, strong young man who is always smiling. He loves living in Colorado and enjoying its recreation. He loves his family, friends, girlfriend and Jesus. He served as a Marine and has always been dedicated to serving others. At this time all we know is that he was tubing with some friends and fell into the river. We are trusting God for a miracle and asking for prayer that he is found quickly.”
Our thoughts are with the friends, family and loved ones of Kelly, Goodwin and the other two victims.