Updated June 24 at 12:30 p.m.
The Taos County Sheriff's Office has identified the rafter who died in the Río Grande near Pilar on Friday (June 21) as 72-year-old Cheryl Current of Albuquerque.
Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said a preliminary investigation indicates Current drowned after she fell from a raft captained by an experienced, but unaffiliated raft guide.
A report of an "unresponsive rafter" came across emergency radio channels just before 4 p.m. Friday, sending first responders to the river's edge near Pilar, an area where rafters and kayakers push into the river or pull boats out after running waters further north.
"What I heard was somebody died," said Stephen Fabrey, who spoke at the riverbank not far from where the recovery was taking place. "We put in about 1:30 p.m. At the takeout, we didn’t see many boats behind us. What I heard is that there was a private boater who fell out at Herringbone [rapid]."
About a mile to the south, Taos County deputies, medics, fire personnel and raft guides staged along the guard rail on State Road 68, stalling traffic in either direction.
The first responders used ropes to haul the body up the bank to the roadway, where it was then transported by the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator.
Water levels in the Río Grande have been unusually high in recent weeks due to a heavy snowpack that has melted steadily this spring and early summer.
This is a developing story.
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