1 Dead After Boat Flips on Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park

Wire Service
By Wire Service
September 12, 2022US News
1 Dead After Boat Flips on Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park
The Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon on April 20, 2018. (Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images)

One person died and four people were injured after a motorboat flipped on the Colorado River Saturday afternoon, according to the National Park Service.

The incident occurred in an area of the river called Bedrock Rapid in Grand Canyon National Park, NPS said in a tweet Saturday.

“Today at 2:12 p.m., we received a report of a flipped motorboat on the Colorado River at Bedrock Rapid. One fatality has been confirmed; SAR [search and rescue] is underway to treat and transport injured patients. Incident is ongoing; no further information is available,” Grand Canyon National Park Service said.

A spokesperson later told CNN in an email that four people had been injured in addition to the fatality.

On Sunday, the park service issued a statement naming the man killed as 67-year-old Ronald Vanderlugt. Vanerlugt had been on his fifth day of a commercial motorboat river trip when he entered the water, it said.

“Members of the group pulled him out of the water, noted he was unresponsive, and began CPR. Park rangers were flown into the location with the park helicopter and all resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful,” the park service said.

“An additional four patients in non-critical condition were treated and flown to the South Rim Helibase,” the statement said. “An investigation into the incident is being conducted by the National Park Service and the Coconino County Medical Examiner.”

One rafting company that runs expeditions in the Grand Canyon describes Bedrock Rapids on its website as a place where a large rock splits the Colorado River’s current. “The best run is on the right side, which requires adept and precise handling to bring a craft around the rock and into calm water. The left side is an unforgiving place, as the river pinballs through a narrow rock studded channel,” rafting company Western River Expeditions says.

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