FORT COLLINS COLORADOAN - When Max Lopez hopped on an inner tube and floated down the Poudre River last week, there wasn't anything other than the sound of rushing water to warn him of the potentially deadly structure ahead.
The Washington teen was on the river with his 16-year-old cousin when the two passed over a low-head dam, something many experts refer to as "drowning machines." The violent current knocked Lopez off his tube and forced him under water. Despite rescue efforts, the 18-year-old drowned.
His death marked the first drowning of the year on the Poudre River, but as the weather warms and more people head to the river, some experts warn that more people could be in danger.
In the past 10 years, more than 15 people have drowned on the river from various accidents. Lopez's death was the first in years involving a low-head dam.
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