One fatality in Poudre River rafting accident

Haley Candelario

Collegian file photo.

Update (12:42 p.m.): The Larimer County Coroner’s Office has identified the man who died in a rafting accident on the Poudre River as William McHarg.

The results of McHarg’s autopsy indicated that the 64-year-old man had severe heart disease. McHarg’s official cause of death is a sudden heart attack and drowning. Authorities are still investigating if McHarg’s death was a natural death, an accident or both.



A 64-year-old man from Severance, Colorado did not survive a rafting accident in which his commercial raft flipped over in the Poudre River.

Personnel from LSCO, Emergency Services, Larimer County Dive Rescue, Poudre Fire Authority, Poudre Canyon Fire Protection District, Poudre Valley Hospital, and Northern Colorado Med Evac responded to a call about the rafting accident around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

The man was pulled unresponsive from the river, and a commercial rafting guide performed CPR on him. The man was later transported by helicopter to Medical Center of the Rockies, but did not survive.

Six other people occupied the same commercial raft as the man, but were able to swim safely to shore and did not suffer any injuries. All of the rafters were wearing helmets and flotation devices, including the man who died.

The accident at the Poudre River on Tuesday is the second accident to occur in the area in the past two weeks. Maximillian Lopez, a teenager from Washington, recently drowned earlier this June when he went over a low-head dam while tubing in the Poudre River with his 16-year-old cousin. Lopez’s cousin was rescued 100 yards upstream from where Lopez was found and later hospitalized at Poudre Valley Hospital, according to the Coloradoan. 

The cause and manner of the Severance man’s death will be determined by the Larimer County Coroner’s Office and released at a later date. No additional information has been released at this time.

Collegian news director Haley Candelario can be reached at or on Twitter @H_Candelario98.