ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Crews continued recovery efforts Sunday for a 29-year-old man who disappeared in the Cherry Creek Reservoir Saturday night.
A South Metro Fire Rescue spokesperson said the man, who was not wearing a life jacket, was tubing behind a boat when he went under around 6:45 p.m.
SMFR first responders and park rangers at Cherry Creek State Park began an immediate search using sonar approximately 300 yards east of the marina on the west end of the reservoir. The rescue turned to a recovery late Saturday night
Gusty winds created obstacles in the recovery efforts Sunday, Colorado Parks and Wildlife tweeted. Despite conditions, CPW said the Marine Evidence Recovery Team (MERT) is having some success working using its tow-fish sonar unit.
Around 6:30 p.m., winds picked up so much that SMFR and rangers were pulled off the water, while the MERT will continue searching until nightfall.
As crews battled gusts up to 23 miles per hour, CPW’s special sonar technology helped divers navigate through the choppy waters.
Officials said they will continue to work despite the winds with the hope of providing the 29-year-old man’s family with a sense of closure.
“It’s a tragic situation and you feel for the family and our condolences go out to them, especially on a day like Mother’s Day,” CPW’s Jason Clay said. “The ultimate goal here with this is a recovery to provide a little piece of closure for the family.”
There were 22 total drownings in Colorado in 2021, CPW said, which was 12 fewer than the previous year. The highest number of drownings on record was in 2020.
“The plan for the Marine Evidence Recovery Team is to continue its recovery operation well into the night. They will have a shift change this evening. The 2nd crew will continue searching Sunday night & into Monday morning,” CPW tweeted Sunday afternoon.