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Colorado River tour boat passengers escape with minor injuries

Published September 11, 2012 12:00 pm

Gold Bar Recreation Site • Sand bar on southeastern Utah stretch of river snags craft.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Grand County Sheriff's Office says there were no serious injuries to 30 passengers and two crew members aboard a Colorado River tour boat that grounded on a sand bar late Monday night.

Sheriff Steven White said the 38-foot jet boat, which has a capacity of 40, is owned by the Moab-based Canyonlands by Night river tour business. The craft struck the sand bar and became temporarily stuck in the river about 7:40 p.m. Monday.

The boat was traveling upstream near the Gold Bar Recreation Site when the operator steered the craft near to the bank to allow canoes and inner-tube riders to float by downstream. When the tour boat attempted to resume its course upstream it grounded on the sand bar.

The injuries, all described as minor, occurred when some passengers were tossed about after being caught out of their seats as the boat operators attempted to put the craft in reverse to back off the sand bar, the sheriff said.

The operator called for help and sheriff's deputies, search and rescue and medical personnel responded. The boat eventually was dislodged and passengers were unloaded at the Gold Bar boat ramp. Several passengers were taken to Moab Regional Hospital for precautionary examinations, with one passenger sustaining a possible leg fracture.

None of the passengers was in the water at any time during the incident, White said.

Utah State Parks officials will investigate further, the sheriff said.

remims@sltrib.com