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Miracle Colorado River Rescue

Miracle Rescue: Moab Heroes Save Family from Drowning in Colorado River

MOAB, UTAH – In a dramatic rescue on the Colorado River last Thursday, two Moab residents saved a family of three from drowning. Gaar Lausman and Daniel Wright’s quick actions and bravery prevented a tragic outcome near Mile Marker 6 on Highway 128.

A 40-year-old father and his two sons, aged 8 and 10, were in an inflatable kayak when they encountered trouble in the whitewater. The kayak flipped, throwing them into the river. Witnessing the accident from a nearby beach, Gaar Lausman, a former associate of the Grand County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, sprang into action. He immediately paddled out on his board to rescue the two boys who were struggling in the water.





The older boy’s belt-pack personal flotation device (PFD) had inflated incorrectly, flipping him face down in the water. The younger boy’s oversized PFD was unable to keep his head above the surface. Lausman managed to get both boys onto his paddleboard but was unable to reach the father, who was being swept away by the current.

At this crucial moment, Daniel Wright, another Moab resident, happened to be traveling upstream on his jet ski. Lausman signaled for help, and Wright quickly turned his jet ski around to rescue the father. Wright managed to reach the man just as he submerged again, grabbing him and bringing him to safety.

Eric Odenthal, a local resident, captured the rescue in a photo, highlighting the dramatic and heroic moment as Wright reached for the man’s hand emerging from the churning waters.





All three family members were safely brought to shore and declined medical assistance. Grand County’s Emergency Services expressed deep gratitude to Lausman and Wright for their life-saving efforts.

“This incident underscores the importance of wearing adequately fitted and properly worn PFDs on the Colorado River,” the Grand County Sheriff’s Office emphasized. “The river can appear calm on the surface, but dangerous currents lie just beneath.”

Water-related incidents are the number one cause of recreation-related deaths across most of the American West.

Learn more by reading our comprehensive mountain safety guide.





Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.





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