Cable spills boaters on Dolores River

Article published Jun 3, 2015

Woman suffers concussion in rafting incident
Tobie Baker
The Cortez Journal
A metal cable stretched across the Dolores River scraped five people off their raft on
Tuesday, sending one woman to the hospital with a head injury.
The accident occurred near County Road 34.4 just after 6 p.m. Victims said the cable
“came out of the blue” and they had “no time to react” once it was spotted.
The 35-year-old woman reportedly hit her head on a rock when thrown overboard. She
suffered a concussion and reported feeling dizzy and nauseated. A 34-year-old man
reported that his arm was caught on the cable. He suffered scrapes and bruising from the
armpit to the wrist.
“I had the cable in my hand, and it pinned me under water,” said rafter Josh Munson of
Dolores. “I was scared.”
Authorities are investigating the incident as a possible second-degree assault.
“The cable did not appear to be set up for any legitimate purpose and appeared to be
intentionally strung across the Dolores River to stop or harm anyone navigating the river,
as if set up as a trap,” wrote Montezuma County sheriff’s deputy John Hancock in a
three-page report.
With a decade of river experience, Munson said the incident was his first involving a
man-made obstacle. Munson had paddled the same stretch of river multiple times last
weekend, adding he hadn’t seen the cable until Tuesday’s incident.
“I have no idea why anyone would stretch a cable across the river during high-water
season,” Munson said.
According to Munson, up to 15 boaters made the same trip as his party on Tuesday.
“Over a dozen folks could have been harmed,” Munson said.
The Dolores Fire Department was called to the scene to remove the cable. Munson
advised the cable – located downstream from the American Legion park and upstream
from the Lightenburger Ranch – remained connected to a tree on river left. He warned the
cable could still pose as an obstacle to boaters. The property where the cable was located is registered to a 60-year-old Arizona man.
tbaker@cortezjournal.com

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