ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) –The body of a 26-year-old kayaker from Aurora was recovered at Cherry Creek Reservoir after his inflatable vessel capsized and he went missing in the water on Sunday.
Colorado Park and Wildlife’s Maritime Evidence Recovery Team launched a boat with sonar technology, lights and a video camera which located the victim about 15 feet underwater, four hours later.
CPW park rangers said reports of a capsized inflatable kayak came in around noon. Witnesses said a man not wearing a life vest was in trouble.
Dive teams from South Metro Fire Rescue and CPW launched a rescue search. After about an hour, CPW declared it a recovery.
Witnesses told officials they saw a dog also on the kayak with the man, but the body of a dog was never located or recovered.
“The waves were very choppy, stronger than they are right now. white caps everywhere,” said Vaughn Brown, who witnessed the entire incident. “The waves were very choppy, with white caps everywhere.”
South Metro Fire tells FOX31 a life vest was found on the inflatable boat.
“When you’re on the water it’s fun but you need to remember personal flotation devices are a must,” said Kim Spuhler with SMFR.
This is the first drowning death in a Colorado State Park so far this year.
“This was an amazing and beautiful day for a lot of people that turned tragic,” said Brown. “A lot of people witnessed the tragic event of the paddler who lost his life here today.”
Officials haven’t yet publicly released the name of the victim, but believe he was at the park alone.