Drowning in Westwater - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-06-2009   #1
denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1977
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Drowning in Westwater

Teen with rare genetic disorder drowns near Moab - Salt Lake Tribune

Despite a rare genetic disorder that confined him to a wheelchair most of the time, 17-year-old Timothy Rau learned to downhill ski on a snowbike, climbed mountains and did the Iditarod with the Make a Wish Foundation.
The Fraser, Colo., teen was rafting on the Colorado River on Saturday when the craft overturned. He was sucked into the rapids and drowned. Rau's death was the fifth drowning fatality in the Moab area this year, a number police said is the highest in more than 20 years.
It also was the second death at the same rapids in less than two months; an Ohio man drowned in the same spot Memorial Day.
"The river is taking its toll this year," said Grand County Chief Deputy Curt Brewer. He attributed the rise in part to the large number of people boating and swimming.
Rau was on a private trip with a group of family and friends, Brewer said. They were traveling on three rafts between the towering red-rock walls of Westwater Canyon. He was riding with his mother, who Brewer said has about 25 years of rafting experience, and a family friend. They hit the class-3 Funnel Falls rapids about 1 p.m.
Something went wrong and the raft overturned, dumping all three into the Colorado. Rau dropped out of sight in the churning water. He was wearing a life jacket, but his illness limited his mobility, Brewer said.
A nearby kayaker saw him get sucked under by a second class-3 rapids, Skull Rapid. He stayed under for about 15 minutes, until two kayakers just beyond the rapids pulled him out of the water and onto another of the rafts.
Someone started CPR and the group paddled out of the remote canyon to the Cisco takeout, about an hour away, and called for help, Brewer said. When paramedics arrived, they couldn't revive him. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Grand County Sheriff Jim Nyland said that the group was well-prepared and experienced. "It's just an unfortunate situation," he said.
In a December interview for the Denver Children's Hospital newsletter, Timothy said his physical activities helped him overcome ataxia-telangiectasia, the degenerative disease that took his balance and muscle control: "My success stemmed from keeping active," he was quoted in the newsletter.
Rau was a junior at Middle Park High School in Granby, Colo., according to his blog, timothyrau.com.
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Old 07-06-2009   #2
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Golden, Colorado
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Damn- the world needs heroes like this kid.

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Old 07-06-2009   #3
Littleton, Colorado
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dang...just saw this in the news. Sounds like he died living life to the fullest--life is short, so enjoy it the best u can every day. Heartfelt condolences to the family and R.I.P.
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Old 07-06-2009   #4
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Cody, Wyoming
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Sorry for duplicate, I was posting at about the same time as the other string. Looks like more info is available now. RIP
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Old 07-06-2009   #5
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Icebox, Colorado
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Hey Phillip,

I new the young man and he really had a passion for life/outdoors. It is a very said day for those who new him and his smile.

My condolences to his family and all those who new him.....
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Old 07-06-2009   #6
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Our group was near the take out as a motor boat came by with a person performing CPR. Such tragedy. We provided relief to the folks providing CPR, and got the 911 call out. FYI, If you scramble to the top of the rock with the star on it you can get some reception with Verizon. Many people worked very hard to save him. His mom was so very brave and kept herself very together all the way to end. My heart breaks for his family and friends. The river was very pushy and unforgiving that day, running 15800-15900.
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Old 07-06-2009   #7
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Icebox, Colorado
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Originally Posted by El Flaco View Post
Damn- the world needs heroes like this kid.

He was a Hero who touched alot of people. I always laughed and joked with him about music and Brittney Spears came up alot... His mind was so quick and he never let the AT effect him...

My condolences to his family and those who knew him....
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Old 07-06-2009   #8
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Aurora, Colorado
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Wow. He died with a disability that most Americans would let confine them to their houses and a life of nothing and yet he was out living life to the fullest. Sorry to see him pass.
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Old 07-06-2009   #9
bum, Colorado
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I pray for Tim's mom Diana.....an awesome woman who loved her son very much, and did so much for him. Keeping him active and increasing his quality of life as best as she could.
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Old 07-06-2009   #10
Likes it wet.
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Seattle, Washington
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Sounded like a stellar guy. Really a true hero.

It sounds like he lived with so much pain in his life, but I'm sure his memories leading up to this tragic accident were some of the best.

My condolences...
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