Body of local woman found in Colorado river after getting swept away in surprise rapids
SILVERTON, CO - The body of an area woman has been found in a remote area of Colorado after being swept away in a rapid while off-roading with her husband earlier this summer.
Authorities in Colorado said the body of a woman found a few days ago along the Rio Grande River was positively identified as Tessie Strickland.
Strickland, 64, and her husband, Tommy, were caught in a quickly-swollen current that flows over a four-wheel-drive road. The road was passable when they crossed it earlier in the day in June but was filled with spring runoff when they attempted a pass later in the day. Such events are expected in the area they were visiting, officials have said.
The Jeep they were driving stalled in the water and was carried downstream. The couple climbed on the roof of the vehicle as it filled with water and attempted to jump to dry land.
Tommy Strickland told authorities he was trying to help his wife up the bank when he was swept under the water. He managed to pull himself to the bank but could not find Tessie.
Search operations have included more than 25 people from Hinsdale County Sheriff’s Department, Mineral County, San Juan County and helicopter surveillance provided by the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control. Workers have been searching along the banks of the waterway as well as using a drone for aerial searches in areas not accessible on foot.
Tessie Strickland’s body was found four miles downriver from where the creek empties into the Rio Grande.
Tommy Strickland, the surviving husband, is a St. Helena volunteer fire chief.
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