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2 dead after separate river-related incidents

Five people were able to self-rescue on the Colorado River in Mesa County on Wednesday afternoon.
Credit: 9NEWS

COLORADO, USA — A man and a woman died after falling into rivers in separate areas of Colorado Wednesday afternoon.

In the first incident, a group of six people were recreating on the Colorado River near Grand Junction, the Mesa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) said. The sheriff's office said the group was using a paddleboard, a kayak and a river raft when they got into trouble near the 5th Street Bridge.

Five of the people were able to self-rescue by making their way to an island, while a woman who was riding the paddleboard had not been found, MCSO said. Mesa County Search and Rescue, the sheriff's office and the Grand Junction fire and police departments responded and launched a boat in the river.

The missing woman was found, but was not conscious or breathing, the sheriff's office said. Rescuers brought the woman to shore and performed life-saving measures until she could be taken to St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction. Just before 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, the sheriff's office said the woman had died. Her identity will be released by the Mesa County Coroner's Office after her next of kin have been notified.

Credit: 9NEWS

In another incident, a man went missing and his body was later recovered after falling into the Roaring Fork River near the area known as the Devil's Punch Bowl, the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office (PCSO) said. That area is about 8 miles southeast of Aspen along Highway 82 (Independence Pass).

The initial report of the man's fall was delayed due to the area not having cell service, PCSO said.

First responders went to the scene and set up a downstream containment point while also searching the river, the sheriff's office said. The sheriff's office requested the release gates at Grizzly Reservoir to be shut to reduce water flows through the Devil's Punch Bowl.

About 10 a.m. Thursday, search teams found the body of Steven Scott Midlarsky under the surface of the water in the Devil's Punch Bowl. His body was recovered at 2:45 p.m., the sheriff's office said.

Credit: 9NEWS

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