Guest column: River trip passenger presumed drowned
Peter Schwab of Healdsburg, California, is presumed to have drowned in the Colorado River, according to officials at Grand Canyon National Park.
In an article from the Sonoma California based Press Democrat, Schwab loved the out of doors and had hiked across the Grand Canyon from the South to North Rim in 1998. A retired San Francisco Unified School District employee, the 66-year-old Schwab signed up at the last minute for a motorized tour through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River with river concessioner Grand Canyon Expeditions.
According to the above sources, on the fourth day of the river trip, June 28, a morning hike was planned into National Canyon from Lower National Camp. Those hiking were to return to the river by lunchtime. Schwab participated on this hike, then returned to the river. He was last seen on a small sandy beach downstream of Lower National Camp. He was not wearing a life jacket.
A search was initiated for Schwab on the afternoon of June 28 and was scaled back July 1, the day Grand Canyon National Park officials posted on Facebook that they presumed Schwab had drowned.
All river runners are reminded to choose carefully where they enter the Colorado River in Grand Canyon, especially if they are not wearing a life jacket. High flows for the month of June and July exceed 18,000 cubic feet per second and the force of the river moving past the shoreline can be surprisingly powerful.
On entering the river to cool off, bathe or urinate, wading into the river to a depth just above the ankles and then sitting down is sufficient to preform these functions. Diving and swimming is never recommended.
If Schwab is in the Colorado River, it is possible his body will be spotted. The river has been fairly clear this last week as the monsoon season has yet to start and there are a lot of river runners in Grand Canyon currently. Should your river trip locate a body in the river, secure the body, wrap it in a tarp and notify Grand Canyon National Park Dispatch at (928) 638-7911 via satellite phone with your location.
RIVERWIRE is a free service to the community of river lovers from the non-profit River Runners for Wilderness