Employee drowns at Steamboat Lake State Park

David Mutabazi Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is mourning the death of an employee who drowned while swimming at Steamboat Lake State Park Tuesday. 

CPW said it happened around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. David Mutabazi, 24, was swimming in the lake after his shift had ended. A witness said Mutabazi was about 100 yards from shore when he began struggling in the water. The witness tried to swim to him, but he disappeared underwater before she could reach him. Rangers recovered his body about five hours later. 

CPW said Mutabazi was a seasonal employee who had been working at the park since May. He was an immigrant from Africa and was studying at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 

According to friends, Mutabazi frequently swam in the lake after his afternoon jog around the park. Park Manager Julie Arington said Mutabazi was strong and athletic, and it appears his death was “just a tragic accident.” 

CPW said Mutabazi was outside of swim beach boundaries, but still within an area where swimming is allowed and protected from boat traffic. The water was about 73 degrees and calm at the time he went for his swim. Arington said he was acting normally before he got into the water, and they don’t suspect the use of alcohol or drugs. 

This is the second drowning at Steamboat Lake State Park in the past two months. Before this, park officials had never recorded any drownings in the lake’s history. 

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