BLM Warning About River Dangers After Drowning

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

Higher, faster and colder--officials are warning people about the dangers on the Colorado River just days after a man drowned.

The Bureau of Land Management says this year's weather has made for more dangerous conditions out on the river.

Officials say dust storms made the snow melt faster, making the river colder and higher for this time of year.

Officials say the river is running very fast and high for this time of the year.

Investigators say 43–year–old Jesse Melvin could not escape the speed of the icy current when he fell out of his raft on Saturday.

The Mesa County Sheriff's Office says the Denver man had been drinking and he was not wearing a life jacket when he drowned near Loma.

Officials say it's easy to let your guard down but that mistake could cost you your life.

"You can get complacent and feel like it's maybe more comfortable to sit on that life jacket than to wear it and that's the kind of thing that can really get you into trouble," BLM Spokeswoman Erin Curtis told 11 News on Tuesday.

The BLM says when you're out on the water you should always wear a life jacket, don't go into the water unless you have to and if you're not an experienced rafter, wait until later in the summer when the water is warmer and slower.

The other thing the BLM wants you to watch out for is flat water, areas of the river that look still.

Officials say it's deceptively calm but the undercurrent makes it extremely hard to swim to the shore.

Even though the river is running faster and higher, the National Weather Service says the worst is over and the river has already crested.

They say it is well below flood and record stages.

Officials say depending on the rain, the river should be on its way down.

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