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Snake River Claims First Life of the Season

sheep gulch

A 77-year-old Cedar Rapids, Iowa man has died after the raft he was in spilled him into the Snake River about a half mile above Sheep Gulch in Lincoln County.  Lieutenant John Stezenbach of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s office says the man was on a professionally guided float trip from Jackson Hole Whitewater out of Jackson, but details of  the accident were not immediately available.  Stezenbach says Lincoln County Emergency Service received the call about 4:20 pm.  He says the man had been swept downstream and was pulled from the water by the Lincoln County Search and Rescue Swift Water Rescue Quick Response Team out of Alpine.  Rescuers put him into a jet boat and transported him to a waiting ambulance to be taken to Star Valley Medical Center.  The man, whose name was not released pending notification of next of kin, was pronounced dead at the hospital.  “Our outfitters all have excellent safety records,” said Jackson District Ranger Dale Deiter.  “We continue to encourage people and groups coming to run the river to join an outfitted trip rather than trust their lives to less experienced folks with or without the gear, training and knowledge that can change a surprise into a statistic,” he said.  Whitewater rafting is an inherently risky activity.  “A lot of our upsets this year are coming from Double Draw, a rapid formed in a landslide earlier in the summer,” said Deiter. “Our condolences go out to the family as they mourn the loss of their loved one,” he said.  This marks the first river fatality this year, despite the inordinately high water levels.

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