ACCIDENTS & INJURIES

Two Moab men save a family of three from drowning in the Colorado River

Jun 10, 2024, 3:44 PM | Updated: 8:59 pm

Moab resident Daniel Wright, rescuing a father of two, after he fell off his inflatable kayak in th...

Moab resident Daniel Wright, rescuing a father of two, after he fell off his inflatable kayak in the Colorado River on Thursday. (Grand County Sheriff's Search and Rescue)

(Grand County Sheriff's Search and Rescue)

MOAB — Search and rescue crews are crediting two Moab men for saving a father and his two sons from drowning in the Colorado River on Thursday.

According to Grand County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, a 40-year-old man and his two sons, ages 8 and 10 years old, were flipped over in whitewater upstream from a popular beach near mile marker 6 on Highway 128.

A Moab resident and former associate of GCSAR, Gaar Lausman, witnessed the incident from the beach and jumped into the river with his paddleboard to save the two struggling boys, according to search and rescue.

Search and rescue reported the 10-year-old’s inflated belt-pack flotation device caused the boy to flip over so he was face down in the water. The 8-year-old was wearing a personal floatation device that was too big for him and failed to keep his head above water.

Lausman got the two boys on his paddleboard, but search and rescue said he couldn’t reach the father, who lost his personal flotation device when the family’s inflatable kayak flipped.

Search and rescue reported that Lausman was able to wave down Moab resident Daniel Wright, who was traveling upstream on his jet ski. Lausman pointed Wright to where the father was.

“Wright had actually passed within a few feet of the man, who was almost completely submerged at the time and virtually unnoticeable because of the substantial amount of high-water debris,” the GCSAR Facebook post stated. “Wright spun his jet ski around and reached for the man just as he went underwater again while raising his hand in desperation.”

Search and rescue said the family was safely transported to the shore and declined to have an ambulance to check them out.

“GCSAR would like to take this opportunity to encourage everyone to wear adequate, properly-fitted, and properly-worn PFDs everywhere on the Colorado River,” search and rescue posted. “The river’s surface can appear deceptively calm, while violent currents just a few inches underwater can pull a swimmer down or sweep a person farther from shore. Please read more river safety tips in the comments below.

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Two Moab men save a family of three from drowning in the Colorado River