Search continues in Colorado for Utah woman missing after raft flipped

Published: Tuesday, July 1 2014 2:25 p.m. MDT

Updated: Tuesday, July 1 2014 6:29 p.m. MDT

Rafters navigate the whitewater rapids on the Arkansas River near Salida, Colo., Tuesday, May, 20, 2003. The search for a Utah woman who has been missing since her raft overturned Saturday night in the Arkansas River is now a recovery operation, authorities said Tuesday.

Ed Andrieski, Associated Press

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SALIDA, Colo. — The search for a Utah woman who has been missing since her raft overturned Saturday night in the Arkansas River is now a recovery operation, authorities said Tuesday.

Amanda Taylor, of Vernal, was rafting with six others when their boat went over a diversion dam Saturday night. Chaffee County Undersheriff John Spezze said Tuesday that search efforts so far have turned up no sign of the 31-year-old woman.

"We talked to the family yesterday, and we're pretty much in a recovery mode," Spezze said. "We'll always actively work on this, even if we cut back our resources. We'll cover every base we can."

Search crews returned Tuesday to the banks of the Arkansas River, searching both upriver and downriver of the diversion dam where the raft flipped in an effort to find Taylor.

"We actually went above the dam, looking on the banks in case she had gotten out and went upstream," Spezze said. "There's a lot of snags along the river and cut banks. We've checked all of those extensively."

Search crews have also worked the river banks downstream in neighboring Fremont County. The undersheriff said it's possible, based on the high water levels, that Taylor's body may be found as far as 90 miles away in Pueblo Reservoir near Pueblo, Colorado.

"Sometimes we'll make recoveries there," Spezze said. "We've made everybody downstream aware of this. You just never know what could happen."

Water levels on the Arkansas River have dropped in the past few days. Spezze said search teams are hopeful that will help them find Taylor.

"We're hopeful we'll find something in the next few days," he said.

Email: gliesik@deseretnews.com

Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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