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‘Heartbreaking tragedy’: 2 die, toddler hospitalized as high winds flip kayaks on Colorado lake

One of the adult victims was recovered almost immediately, and the second victim was located by underwater drone because conditions on the lake were too dangerous
UPDATED OCT 25, 2022
A kayak carrying an adult and a toddler overturned when waves became violent and wind gusts reached 35 to 45 mph (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
A kayak carrying an adult and a toddler overturned when waves became violent and wind gusts reached 35 to 45 mph (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

PUEBLO, COLORADO: High winds and waves caused three kayaks to flip in Colorado, killing two people and hospitalizing a toddler. At Lake Pueblo State Park, a kayak carrying an adult and a child flipped Sunday afternoon, Oct 23, when waves became violent and wind gusts reached 35 to 45 mph, according to witnesses. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) officials said two other people, each paddling in their own kayak, tried to help but they were also knocked over by the waves. Park rangers who responded to the cries for help pulled the child from the water and performed CPR. The child was airlifted to a hospital.

The body of one of the adults was discovered shortly thereafter. An underwater drone was used to locate another adult about an hour later. Park Manager Joe Stadterman had a drone launched to search for the other missing adult because the water was too choppy for rescue boats and their equipment to operate SONAR. Within an hour, Stadterman was able to locate the remains of another victim in about 20 feet of water. According to the New York Post, the two adults were identified as Catherine Dawes, 44, and Larry Foster, 26. The Pueblo County Coroner is currently determining the cause of their deaths.


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At the time of the incident, according to the authorities, all four people were in the water close to Sailboard Beach on the lake's northern shore. Meanwhile, according to Fox Weather, park manager Joe Stadterman said in a statement. "This is another heartbreaking tragedy, and we send our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of these victims. We continue to urge everyone to pay close attention to weather conditions and to wear life jackets when they are on or near the water so we can avoid future tragedies like today." According to reports, the third adult who fell into the river survived and did not require hospitalization. 

Meanwhile, the recent deaths are now the seventh and eighth water-related fatalities in Lake Pueblo in 2022, according to officials. Up until Sunday, there had been one boating accident fatality and five drownings. Colorado has reported 38 water-related fatalities so far in 2022. And if Sunday's, October 23, fatalities are determined to be drownings by the authorities, then that would make 36 drownings that were tied to recreational activities. In Colorado, there were a total of 34 water-related fatalities in 2020 and 22 in 2021.