Kayaker death on the Crystal? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 06-10-2004   #1
 
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Kayaker death on the Crystal?

Anyone know anything? I heard from a freind that they heard a quick statement on the radio in summit county. I can't find any info from denver post of the tv stations.

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Old 06-10-2004   #2
 
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Sadly true

Kayaker's body found in the Crystal River

Janet Urquhart
June 10, 2004


An unidentified man was killed Wednesday while kayaking in the Crystal River south of Carbondale.

Pitkin County Deputy Coroner Scott Thompson was working yesterday to identify the body, described only as a white male, and to determine the cause of death. Rescue teams pulled the body from the water about a mile downstream from the BRB Crystal River Resort campground.

The sheriff's office received a report of a body floating in the river near the campground at 12:14 p.m., according to Joe DiSalvo, director of investigations and the incident commander during yesterday's recovery effort. Someone traveling on Highway 133 adjacent to the river spotted the body and dialed 911 from the campground.

The body was pulled from an eddy around 2 p.m. A one-person kayak was found about a mile upstream, or south, of the campground, he said.

"He was clearly a kayaker," DiSalvo said. The man was wearing a helmet, goggles and booties. He was also wearing a life jacket, but DiSalvo said he wasn't sure whether rescuers had put the flotation device on the body.

There was no evidence that he was kayaking with companions, DiSalvo said.

About 37 rescuers responded to the scene, including members of the county's Incident Management Group, which happened to be in Carbondale for wildfire training. The Carbondale and Basalt swift-water rescue teams and Carbondale Fire Department also responded.

Seven swimmers searched the water; other people searched from along the banks of the river while some kept watch from bridges all the way down to the Crystal's confluence with the Roaring Fork River in Carbondale.

The river, swollen with spring runoff, was running at 1,390 cubic feet per second yesterday, according to Colorado Canoe & Kayak in Glenwood Springs.

"I wouldn't want to be in it, but it certainly wasn't deafening, as fast as it was moving," DiSalvo said.

A popular kayaking stretch of the Crystal, from Avalanche Creek to the BRB, is a rated as a Class 3 rapid by the guidebook "Colorado Rivers and Creeks."
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Old 06-11-2004   #3
 
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[b]Life jacket of dead kayaker found in car[/b]

Naomi Havlen
June 11, 2004


The kayaker killed on the Crystal River Wednesday has been identified as Les Raleigh Normandin, 53, from Parachute.

Normandin was found in the river south of Carbondale by a passerby who spotted his body from Highway 133. His one-person kayak was found about a mile upstream from the campground.

Normandin was wearing a helmet while kayaking, but not a life jacket, according to the Pitkin County coroner's office. The coroner's autopsy determined that the cause of death was drowning, and that no significant trauma occurred.

Investigators found a life jacket in Normandin's vehicle, parked near his intended takeout spot on the Crystal River.

About 37 rescuers responded to the scene Wednesday, retrieving Normandin's body from the water at about 2 p.m. The county's incident management group was in Carbondale for wildfire training at the time, so it was able to respond quickly. The Carbondale and Basalt swift-water rescue teams and Carbondale Fire Department also responded.

According to Glenwood Springs-based Colorado Canoe & Kayak, the Crystal River was running at 1,390 cubic feet per second Wednesday - high and fast due to increased snowmelt from recent warm temperatures. The stretch of river from Avalanche Creek to the BRB Crystal River Resort campground is popular with kayakers; it is rated as a Class 3 rapid by the guidebook "Colorado Rivers and Creeks."

A Class 3 rapid is characterized as having moderate, irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid. Strong eddies and powerful current effects can be found, particularly on large-volume rivers, according to the National Park Service.
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Old 06-11-2004   #4
 
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It bums me out reading this. Running solo, forgot to bring the PFD back up to the put in but decided to run it anyway. A darn shame. Rest in peace Les.
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Old 06-11-2004   #5
 
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"He was clearly a kayaker," DiSalvo said. The man was wearing a helmet, goggles and booties. He was also wearing a life jacket, but DiSalvo said he wasn't sure whether rescuers had put the flotation device on the body.

Is that a common practice in SWR techniques(putting a floation device on a body)? Or is this a fabrication on the Officials part?

Maybe the guy had 2 PFD's, brought both with and just left the other in tha take-out car.-strange.

Condolences to friends and family.
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Old 06-11-2004   #6
 
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Another Article....First was from Aspen News, this one from Glenwood

Both river accidents involve Parachute men

Greg Massé
June 11, 2004




Two river tragedies this week - one on the Colorado near Rifle and the other on the Crystal south of Carbondale - had one common theme: men from Parachute who weren't wearing life jackets.

Authorities believe Dale Michael Petersen, 30, of Parachute drowned in an accident, but they have yet to find his body.

Petersen was pulled under the surface of the water Tuesday evening while swimming to catch up with his two brothers, ages 26 and 27, who were floating on an air mattress.

Garfield County Search and Rescue member Lanny Grant, incident commander for the suspected drowning, said his crews were planning to search an area near the north end of the Old Colorado River Bridge near a concrete abutment on Thursday afternoon.

"We've got a jet boat coming out that a member owns," Grant said. "We're concentrating on an area where the search dogs had scent hits."

If Petersen isn't found, Grant said the search - which is being done by volunteer members - will intensify over the weekend when many of the members are off work.

"The river work is probably the most dangerous thing we do, so we have to do it as safely as possible," he said.

Grant urged recreational river floaters, as well as anyone playing on the water, to take safety precautions.

"(Wednesday) four kids were floating down and almost duplicated the incident from the night before," he said.

Fortunately the search and rescue crews were there to pull the kids to safety on the swollen river's banks.

Grant said it's wise to wear a life jacket when working or playing around water.

"We recommend that no one go alone when on or near the water," he said.

Grant also urged people to avoid alcohol while on the river and to use caution if a rescue becomes necessary.

"A lot of times drowning become multiple drownings because the rescuer becomes a victim, too," he said. "Life jackets are uncomfortable, but they'll save your life."



Crystal River kayaker identified

On Thursday afternoon, Pitkin County chief deputy coroner Scott Thompson identified the kayaker found drowned on the Crystal River Wednesday.

The victim was 53-year-old Les Raleigh Normandin of Parachute.

Like Petersen, Normandin was not wearing a personal floatation device at the time of his death.

During its investigation, the sheriff's office found a life jacket in Normandin's vehicle, which was parked near his intended take-out on the Crystal.

Thompson reported an autopsy conducted Thursday confirmed Normandin died due to drowning.

More than 35 rescuers helped look for Normandin Wednesday, who was first reported floating facedown in the river by a motorist traveling on Highway 133. His body was first spotted at 12:15 p.m., and was recovered by 2 p.m. Wednesday.



Post Independent reporter Carrie Click contributed to this story.
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Old 06-11-2004   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geezer
It bums me out reading this. Running solo, forgot to bring the PFD back up to the put in but decided to run it anyway. A darn shame. Rest in peace Les.
More parents need to teach their kids not to break two "laws" at once.
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Old 06-14-2004   #8
 
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Darwin Awards.....

and the next contest for stupidity is when??????
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Old 06-14-2004   #9
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For God's sake. Stupid is when your buddy leaves the car keys back at the put in. Tragic is when somebody dies. These folk are dead forever and now part of their permanent epitaph, preserved for eternity, is your jeering at them. It reflects poorly on the boating community when we're judgemental like this, and I hope their familes don't hear about it. It's a thinner line separating any of us from the other side than we'd like to think, and it's pure dumb luck and not caution or smarts that's kept me, for one, here this long.
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Old 06-15-2004   #10
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Well said. I hope I never die kayaking.....can just imagine all the geniuses on this board reviewing what an idiot I am.
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