Bryan Reim, 35, reportedly drowned on Saturday, June 3, a day after sharing a post about high water on Facebook. He's one of two people to die in a two-day period on a Colorado waterway. The other death involved a tragic boating accident, as did the season's first drowning back on April 30.
At this writing, Reim's body has yet to be found, but personnel in Delta County, where the incident took place, are currently in recovery, as opposed to rescue, mode.
According to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Reim was swept away after jumping into the waters in an area known as the Potholes, which has seen its share of tragedies. As we've reported, Colorado Mesa University football player Austin Worbington drowned at the Potholes in May 2016.
The waters have been running high in the section of western Colorado that includes the Potholes, as Reim understood. On June 2, he Facebooked a post placed on a Delta message board by Tony Bohling, manager of the parks department in the community. The item talked about the Gunnison River finally starting to recede from its early season peak, revealing damage done to the Confluence Trail. But Bohling's message came with a very clear warning.
"Although the river level looks comparatively better than this time last week, please understand that the river is still running over 9,000 cfs this morning (normal summer flow is between 1,000 and 1,500 cfs) and is still dangerous...especially along the river bank," Bohling wrote. "It will be a few days before we can assess bank stability, so please keep back from the edges."
Bohling concluded with this line: "Please stay safe out there, enjoy the park, and we thank you for your patience!"
After the June 3 drowning, the Bohling post on Reim's timeline became a repository for messages of condolence. They include, "You will definitely be missed Reimer!!!" and "RIP Bryan. I was so incredibly shocked and saddened for you and your family. You will be missed."
Two days later, on Monday, June 5, another drowning took place, this one in Eagle County on a portion of the upper Colorado River between Yarmony and Rancho Del Rio with a particularly chilling nickname: "Boneyard Rapids."
Here's a video showing the type of churning water typical along this stretch.
Just before 4 p.m. on the 5th, the Eagle County Sheriff's Office notes, authorities received a call about an accident involving what's described as a large group of private boaters and kayakers.
One of the boats high-centered on an abandoned raft that had been left behind some time earlier; it was pinned against a rock. The occupants of the boat tried to swim out of the rapids, but a thus-far-unidentified woman in her early thirties got trapped before she could escape, the ECSO reveals.
The woman was recovered around 5 p.m., but she didn't respond to resuscitation efforts.
In its release about what happened, the sheriff's office points out that "Spring and summer brings warmer temperatures, snow melt, run off and high water in all our mountain streams and rivers. The dangers of high water run off can be fatal as debris and river conditions change daily. It is important to be prepared, alert and familiar with proper safety equipment and how to rescue yourself and others when recreating in high water areas."
The item adds: "Along with high water concerns, boaters can often be separated from their boat and swept downstream. While rescue efforts are focused on the life of a boater, often an unoccupied boat that continues to float downstream can create a scare to the community and first responders."
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