(PUEBLO, Colo.) — The first death on Lake Pueblo this year was reported by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) on Saturday, July 15.
According to a press release, a small ski boat carrying three people quickly sank about 50 yards offshore near the Big Lizard Picnic Pavilion on the lake’s north side, just west of the North Shore Marina and boat ramp.
Two passengers wearing life jackets resurfaced when the boat went underwater. A third passenger who did not have a life jacket tried to swim to shore but began struggling, said CPW. Witnesses on shore attempted to swim out to the man but were unable to reach him before he disappeared below the surface of the water, which was estimated to be 72 degrees at the time, according to CPW.
Pueblo County Sheriff’s volunteer dive team recovered the body in about seven feet of water, stated CPW. Rangers then pulled the sunken boat to shore.
“While we continue to investigate, this appears to be a tragic accident,” said Daryl Seder, senior park ranger at Lake Pueblo. “We offer our condolences to the family and friends of this victim.”
The Pueblo County Coroner will identify the body and formal cause of death. If confirmed by the Coroner, this would be the 24th water-related death in Colorado in 2023, per CPW.
The boat was an older, low-profile ski boat, according to Seder. The two survivors told rangers they noticed the boat was taking on water shortly after leaving the marina’s “no wake” zone, passing its buoy.
Seder said the weight of water in the boat and choppy waves on the lake swamped the boat, causing it to sink. It is unknown why the boat was taking on water, per CPW.
In 2023, three people are still missing and presumed dead in water-related incidents, read the press release. A record 42 people died in water-related incidents in 2022, stated CPW.