TWO BUTTES, Colo. (KDVR) — Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers say divers have recovered a body from deep in a pond behind the dam at Two Buttes Reservoir State Wildlife Area.
CPW said a search was initiated after campers reported a member of their group went missing Sunday night while jumping from cliffs into the Black Hole pond.
CPW officers and Baca County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene and found the missing man’s SUV with his wallet, cellphone, keys and other personal items. They immediately initiated a search of the 8,533-acre wildlife area on foot.
CPW said a boat was also launched and they used a sonar device to scan the water, estimated to be 30 feet deep.
The search continued on Tuesday as four drones, including one with a thermal camera, were launched and flew over the area while volunteers searched on foot, according to CPW.
CPW said its expert Marine Evidence Recovery Team also arrived on scene to take over the water search with its boat and submersible drone equipped with sonar, lights and a video camera.
The MERT team continued searching the Black Hole on Wednesday and Thursday. They were joined by the Pueblo County Sheriff’s volunteer dive team, which probed the murky depths of the pond, where visibility was extremely low, according to CPW.
CPW said the MERT team found the body and completed the recovery with its submersible drone.
The coroner will determine a cause of death and make formal identification of the victim as well as notify the next of kin.
“This is a tragedy and we offer our condolences to the family and friends of the victim,” said Todd Marriott, CPW Area Wildlife Manager for the Lamar region. “Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people to be injured jumping from the cliffs into the Black Hole. And it’s another sad example why we urge everyone to wear life jackets when in or near the water.”
CPW said if a drowning is confirmed, it would be the 17th recreational drowning this year in Colorado. There have been 21 total drownings, including four people who died in July when a flash flood and mudslide in Poudre Canyon swept their home into the Poudre River in Larimer County.