I wonder if there is something under water near the needle eye that is snagging people that no one knows about. It seems like a lot more people die there than you would expect. That said, I would be curious to see that fatality stats and would think that Needle Eye could be one of the most dangerous rapids in Colorado, albeit mostly due to the inexperienced people that pass through over-confident, no PFD, drunk, not paying attention, whatever. Not saying that this was the case for this guy, except reportedly the no PFD.
Maybe there is a submerged undercut (?) or he is foot-entrapped where he disappeared. Would be good to know for future paddlers.
It takes a big man to cry...It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man.