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Windsor teen dies when windy conditions cause canoe to flip in lake

Miles Blumhardt
Fort Collins Coloradoan
Published 11:50 AM EDT May 8, 2020

A 13-year-old boy from Windsor is dead after the canoe he was in with his 8-year-old brother flipped Thursday afternoon in windy conditions.

Windsor Severance Fire Rescue Chief Kris Kazian said crews were called out to Rock Bridge Lake in the Water Valley subdivision of southeast Windsor at 3:16 p.m. When they arrived, the 8-year-old boy, who was wearing a life jacket, was on shore but his 13-year-old brother, who was not wearing a life jacket, was missing.

Bystanders had seen the brothers, who live in the neighborhood, on a small island on the lake. Winds in excess of 30 mph kicked up Thursday afternoon in Windsor, presumably causing the canoe to flip and hampering rescue operations, Kazian said.

Kazian was unsure how far from shore the canoe was when it flipped. According to Google Maps, the shortest distance from the lake’s island to shore is about 300 feet, or the length of a football field. 

“There were big waves and very dangerous conditions on the lake when we arrived,” Kazian said. “The waves were so large that we weren’t able to initially access the water because of the safety concern.”

The lake, one of several in the Water Valley neighborhood, allows only wakeless boats and measures approximately 130 surface acres, which is a little less than half the size of Windsor Lake.

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Divers were called in and received help from a Greeley firefighter on scene who had her search and rescue dog. The dog alerted after being placed on a rescue boat that drove through the last place the 13-year-old was seen. A buoy was placed at the site. Shortly thereafter, divers found the body of the 13-year-old at 7:15 p.m.

“This incident is not a matter of blame, but it is very important for everyone when on or near the water to understand the changing weather conditions we experience here and that life vests are a recommended practice,” Kazian said. “Windsor is a very tight community that suffered a loss yesterday and the best thing we can do now is come together and learn form this tragic situation and make sure we hug our kids.”

The Weld County coroner’s office was on scene and is expected to release the teen’s name following completion of its investigation.

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Reporter Miles Blumhardt looks for stories that impact your life. Be it news, outdoors, sports — you name it, he wants to report it. Have a story idea? Contact him at or on Twitter @MilesBlumhardt. Support his work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today. 

This content was originally published here.