PUEBLO, Colo. - At least 13 people have drowned in open water in Colorado so far this year. That exceeds the number of people who died in last year's flash floods, according to Tim Woodward, founder of Colorado Drowning Prevention Task Force.
The most recent drowning happened Monday in the Arkansas River. A man was fishing east of Florence when he waded into the river and disappeared. His body was found Tuesday afternoon, about a mile and a half downstream. He's been identified as Shane Bollig, 42, of Cañon City.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers also recovered a body from the Arkansas River on Monday in Pueblo County. The body was reported by two boaters in the area Sunday and recovered the next day.
Meanwhile, the body of Christopher Frazier, 23, believed to have drowned in the Arkansas River in Pueblo on June 2 has not been found.
Last year, 30 people drowned in Colorado, Woodward said. He believes people underestimate the power of the water and overestimate their ability. State and local emergency officials add that it's important to always check the conditions of water before going in it.
"There are many hazards inside that water so you have rocks that you can hit your head on, you have trees that you can become entangled in and fast-moving currents that you might not be able to fight against," said Micki Trost, spokeswoman for the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
In some counties, including Pueblo County, people are required to wear a personal flotation device before going in the river.
Trost offered several tips for those who plan on recreating in the water. Swim with a friend, follow posted signs on safe swim areas, and if you fall in the water, position yourself with your feet first downstream.