A rafting accident in a flood-swollen rapids killed one man and injured others as the Colorado River, fed by torrents of Rocky Mountain snow melt, roared through four states and into Mexico yesterday.
The river overflowed in parts of Colorado, Nevada, Arizona and California, forcing hundreds out of their homes. At Grand Junction, Colo., the river reached its highest stage in the 66 years that records have been kept. In Mexico, two men drowned and thousands fled.
Rising water in reservoirs, fed by heavy snow melt, has forced the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to open the dams' floodgates, causing more flooding downstream.
In western Colorado, heavy rain poured more water into the river, driving more people from their homes and closing part of Interstate 70. The rain also unleashed boulder-laden mudslides. In Arizona, National Guardsmen and volunteers reinforced banks and dikes.
Mexican authorities said 55,000 acres of farm land are flooded and up to 20,000 homes are in danger.
Rangers at Grand Canyon National Park required commercial river raft passengers to walk around Crystal Rapids after several rafts capsized Saturday, killing William Wert, 62, of Aspen, Colo., and injuring 15 others. The injured were flown out of the canyon by helicopter.