Family of Drowning Victim: "Wear a Life Jacket"

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

Wednesday the coroner identified a man who drowned in the Gunnison River near Orchard Mesa.

36–year–old Bradley Dial of Grand Junction was swimming near the Roller Dam on Tuesday afternoon when he went under and never came up.

His family is sharing their story with 11 News.

"He had enormous heart, he was such a caring guy," Ashlee Dial told 11 News on Wednesday.

Dial is Bradley's niece. She was at the riverfront where her uncle took his last steps, hugging family members and sharing memories.

"It's definitely hard," said Dial.

Ashlee got a frantic call Tuesday that her uncle was lost in the river.

She got there to find search and rescue looking in the water and then got the news that he was gone.

"When they first told us it was like there's no way it can't be. After it sunk in it was like, he's gone and I don't have an uncle anymore."

Deputy Tim Orr has seen one too many grieving families in his time running the water rescue team.

"It's real easy to get yourself caught in undertow or on debris and get sucked under the water."

He says areas near dams are especially dangerous because of the currents.

"The water swirls underneath there so if you get caught in that without a life vest or some kind of flotation device it's gonna suck you under to the bottom of that," Orr told 11 News on Wednesday.

The deputy says a life jacket might have save Bradley Dial's life, something Ashlee Dial will always think about from now on.

"Even if it's ankle deep water you never know where a drop off is in the water you can't see it," said Dial.

Her message to the community, wear a life jacket. The message to her uncle, you will not be forgotten.

"We will always love him."

The Dial family says it may not be able to afford a funeral.

To donate to Bradley Dial's memorial fund, call or go to any Bank of Colorado in the Grand Valley and ask for the Gail Street account, in memory of Bradley.

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