Dinosaur, Colorado and Jensen, Utah – A rafting accident in Triplet Falls on the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument on Saturday, July 6, 2019 resulted in the death of Anthony Vasi, 47, from Newport Beach, California. The Moffat Country Coroner’s office has concluded that the cause of death was drowning. Vasi was part of a group that included family and friends on a commercial rafting trip led by Adrift Adventures, an authorized commercial outfitter based out of Jensen, Utah.
Dinosaur National Monument received notification via satellite text message at 12:40 pm on Saturday, July 6 of a boating accident on the Green River at Triplet Falls. Initial reports were that a raft flipped and an adult male was unconscious. Search and Rescue response was coordinated among staff from Dinosaur National Monument, Classic Air Medical, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office.
At approximately 12:15 pm on July 6th a commercial raft entered a feature in the rapids at Triplet Falls known as “the Birth Canal” and became stuck on one of the rocks. Several passengers, including Vasi, were ejected into the water. Vasi was responsive while trapped in the water, but initial attempts to pull him out were unsuccessful. He became unresponsive when being moved from behind the rock into the main current by a rescue swimmer. Another boat assisted with moving Vasi onto a gravel bar downstream of the rapid, where CPR was immediately initiated. Members of the rafting trip continued to provide CPR until care was transitioned to the helicopter flight crew of Classic Air Medical, who arrived on the scene at 1:30 pm and declared Vasi deceased.
Classic Air Medical transported Vasi by helicopter to the Ashley Regional Medical Center in Vernal, Utah on Saturday afternoon. At the same time, Dinosaur National Monument rangers traveled by raft to the scene of the incident to conduct an investigation and assist the rest of the group in reaching Echo Park, where they exited the river on Sunday around noon.
Triplet Falls, which has a Class III difficulty rating, is located along the Green River in a remote portion of Dinosaur National Monument about 12 river miles from the monument’s northern boundary near Gates of Lodore. The area is surrounded by steep canyon walls rising 1,200 feet and higher above the river. There is no cell service in that portion of the monument. River flow was approximately 2,350 cubic feet per second (cfs) at the time of the incident.