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2 people die in separate accidents in Colorado River

Grand Canyon River Death
Carl Bowman/NPS via AP
This 2019 photo provided by the National Park Service shows the Hance Rapid located where Red Canyon intersects with the Colorado River at River Mile 77.

Authorities say two people died in separate river accidents in western Colorado.

Mesa County sheriff’s officials say six people were recreating on a paddleboard, a kayak and a raft on the Colorado River in Grand Junction when they encountered trouble near a bridge Wednesday afternoon. Five of the people were able to make their way to an island, but the paddleboarder remained missing.

Authorities launched a rescue boat, and the woman was found unconscious and not breathing. She died at a nearby hospital.

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The coroner’s office identified her as 42-year-old Kimberly Moore, according to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. The newspaper also reported that she had been on the paddleboard with a non-breakaway leash and was not wearing a life jacket, although there was a life jacket on the board.

Meanwhile, authorities recovered the body of a man Thursday who went missing the day before after falling into the Devil’s Punchbowl, a popular swimming and cliff jumping area on Independence Pass near Aspen.

The Aspen Daily News reports the man, identified as 63-year-old Steve Midlarsky of Florida, was fully clothed, suggesting the fall into the water was accidental.