The local news media reports on rafting accidents in Colorado every season - high water or not. They typically report the facts, more or less as they get them, and relay safety warnings from the local authorities - sherriff depts, etc.
To the extent that they remind the general public that whitewater boating is a high risk sport, and a higher risk sport at big flows, what they're doing is more or less appropriate, in my view. Some people should be scared away from the river this year - at least while we're experiencing historic runoff.
Every death on the river is a tragedy. Condolences and best wishes to all involved, and friends/family. Terrible thing.