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Maryland man dies in rafting accident

Jun 15, 2016

Credit Credit Elise Thatcher

A 58-year-old man died after a rafting accident in Aspen on Wednesday. The rafter died after falling from a raft into the Roaring Fork River.

Credit Credit Matt Ferro

  

Officials identified him later as Maryland resident James Abromitis. Wednesday’s accident happened between Henry Stein Park and the Aspen Business Center, along the Slaughterhouse section of the Roaring Fork River. It is running especially high right now due to a variety of factors and has class four rapids.  

Alex Burchetta is with the Pitkin county sheriff's office. He said that at 11 a.m. they received word of the accident.

“Right after we got that call … we had an open space ranger who radioed into the same dispatch center to notify us of the same situation,” explained Burchetta afterwards.

Five agencies responded, but were unable to revive Abromitis. He had been in a party of six on a commercial trip run by Aspen Whitewater Rafting. Law enforcement closed the Rio Grande Trail for a period of time after the accident.

Houston resident Natalie Cauthen-Alfaro and a friend had been biking the trail from Aspen to Woody Creek, but were cut short at the closure.

“They had an ambulance [and] a couple other vehicles,” Cauthen-Alfaro said. “And there was a gentleman coming out and saying ‘we’re going to have to turn you around, we’ve got too much going on, we’ve had an accident.’”

The Roaring Fork River was running at about 1,700 cubic feet per second yesterday. The accident took place in a section of river where a 44-year-old Los Angeles man died two years ago.

As of last night, the Pitkin County Coroner was still working to determine how Abromitis died. An official said there aren’t any immediate clues showing what might have happened.