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People still going on the Arkansas River despite high number of boating deaths

Deadly Year on Arkansas River

FREMONT COUNTY, Colo. - It has been a deadly year on the Arkansas River, but people are still riding the rapids. 

Colorado Parks and Wildlife report 15 people have died from boating-related activities so far this year, the highest since 2009. The number includes kayaking and rafting. 

Seven of those deaths came from the Arkansas River, the highest since 2008.

"We had an unfortunate number of high fatalities this year," Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesperson Abbie Walls said.

Walls said it is a high water year for the river, but she said it is hard to pinpoint a reason why the number of deaths on the river is high. 

Parks and Wildlife also report about 225,000 people are on the Arkansas River every year.

"Boating or water-related activities always come with a risk," Walls said.

Despite the high number of deaths, that's not keeping people away from the water.

Shawntel Murphy rafted on the Arkansas River for the first time. She said she felt safe and she would do it again.

Andy Neinas owns a rafting business. He said the number of people who died on the Arkansas River have not chased away his customers.

"We had a fantastic summer, it's been a normal season, which is quite refreshing," he said.

Parks and Wildlife say crews are watching each body of water in Colorado.  

But since there are so many, the next best thing the group can do is teach people the risks of boating. 

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