Body of missing rafter found
July 1, 2009
A rafting guide spotted the body of Eric M. Kophs, 42, of Aurora, on a small island in the Colorado River several miles below where he fell off his raft Saturday, June 20. Kophs has been missing since going through the Needle’s Eye rapid below Kremmling.
The body was discovered at about noon on Wednesday, according to a Grand County Sheriff’s Department statement. Sources said the island where the body was found is near Rancho del Rio.
The statement says the island had been covered by high water until Tuesday. The receding water exposed parts of the island and Koph’s body.
Officials from Eagle and Grand counties recovered the body, the statement says.
Searchers spent three days scouring the river banks, floating the river and probing deep sections of the river looking for Kophs after he was last seen paddling with his hands while going around a bend in the river below the rapids.
Kophs was at the oars of the boat and his fishing partner was in the front while they seemed to safely negotiate the rapid, the partner reported to authorities. Moments later, the partner suspected something was wrong because of the course they were taking and looked back to discover Kophs was no longer on the raft.
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“How and why he fell out of the boat is a mystery,” said Grand County Sheriff Rod Johnson the night after the incident.
Kophs was wearing chest waders but not a life jacket.
– Drew can be reached at (970) 887-3334 ext. 19610 or at email@example.com