Russian man dies in Colorado rafting accident

EAGLE-VAIL, Colo. -- A Russian man died in a rafting accident in Colorado – now loved ones are trying to raise money for the victim’s family to bring his body back home.

Friends of Nikolay Pezhemskiy said he was not an amateur rafter. In fact, he had already been on the Eagle River this year, but last Thursday something went tragically wrong.

“He was wearing all the – he had helmet, wet suit, life vest – he was absolutely prepared,” Evghenii “Eugene” Cojocari said.

Eugene said Pezhemskiy was his best friend. The two had been rafting together in Colorado for the past several years.

“He was skilled he knew what was going on what to do,” Eugene said.

But last Thursday, Pezhemskiy set out on a private raft trip with four others on the Eagle River in Eagle-Vail. Eugene stayed back because he had to work. Suddenly their raft overturned. Deputies say four of the rafters swam to shore but Pezhemskiy was carried away in the current. Eugene got there as fast as he could.

“They already pulled him out. They pulled him out really quick.”

First responders started CPR but were unsuccessful. It’s not clear what caused their raft to flip. Now Eugene is trying to raise money for the family so they can lay him to rest back in Russia – a process that will cost thousands.

“To send the body, it’s extremely expensive. It’s the numbers are crazy,” Eugene said.

The Eagle County Sheriff's Office said rivers and creeks in the area have or will soon reach their peak water flows because of a record-setting winter – they urge others to be cautious.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help support the family of Nikolay Pezhemskiy.

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