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Salt Lake man drowns below Flaming Gorge Dam

Published: Tuesday, June 10 2014 9:20 a.m. MDT

Flow tubes are open and water is being released Wednesday, May 4, 2011 from Flaming Gorge Dam. A Salt Lake City man drowned Monday in the Green River. The river is running at 10 times the normal rate due to releases from Flaming Gorge Dam, officials said.

Alex Cabrero, Deseret News

MANILA, Daggett County — A Salt Lake man drowned Monday in the Green River, according to the Daggett County Sheriff's Office.

Raymond E. Moody and his 13-year-old son had prior experience running the river, Sheriff Jerry Jorgensen said Tuesday. The flows the Green River is seeing right now are higher than normal and were likely too much though for the pair's oar-powered, two-person kick boat and its 10-foot-long pontoons, the sheriff said.

"It's about 10 times the normal flow right now," Jorgensen said. "The river's not the same. There are trouble spots, and (Moody) got into a trouble spot with some debris, some fallen trees, and got tangled."

Moody and his son were wearing life jackets when their boat became snagged about 6:45 p.m., the sheriff said. The teen was able to swim to safety, but Moody was not able to free himself.

"Other rafters came to his aid and were able to free him and get him to the shore where they performed CPR in an effort to revive him," sheriff's spokeswoman Susie Potter said.

CPR was still in progress when sheriff's deputies and members of the county's swift water search and rescue team arrived. Despite the attempts to revive him, Moody, 62, did not survive.

"For any of my people it's a half-hour to an hour response time to get out to that river, to get a team out on that river, and by then it's too late to rescue someone," Jorgensen said, urging others to use "extreme caution" on the Green River right now.

"They have to rely on their own skills or other boaters that may be on the river," the sheriff said. "In this case, there were other boaters on the river, and still we had a tragedy."

The Bureau of Reclamation pumped up releases at Flaming Gorge to the bypass maximum of 8,600 cubic feet per second beginning June 6. The river had been running at 814 cubic feet per second on May 29.

The increase is intended to help native fish species in the river and to pass high spring runoff from the Green River's headwaters in Wyoming's Wind River mountain range downstream to Lake Powell, according to the bureau.

Contributing: Dave Cawley

Email: gliesik@deseretnews.com

Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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