Autopsy confirms NY man drowned in Animas River rafting accident

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DURANGO |  An autopsy has determined a tourist died as a result of drowning while rafting on Colorado’s Animas River.

Patrick Southworth, 61, of Ballston Lake, New York, is believed to have inhaled water after the shock of falling into the cold river at the Durango Whitewater Park around 10 a.m. Saturday, The Durango Herald reported Wednesday.

Despite attempts to revive Southworth, he was pronounced dead at Mercy Regional Medical Center.

La Plata County Coroner Jann Smith said she believes the combination of shock and water inhalation resulted in Southworth’s death relatively soon after he entered the water, explaining why he was seen unconscious moments after falling out of the raft.

Durango Police Cmdr. Ray Shupe said no charges are expected as a result of Southworth’s death.

Southworth and his wife, Patti, worked as hospital pharmacists on Navajo Nation lands in New Mexico, said Matt Malinoski, Southworth’s son-in-law.

The couple traveled to Durango for the weekend to go rafting and horseback riding, Malinoski said.

Mountain Waters Rafting conducted the river trip. Co-owner James Wilkes said Southworth was wearing a personal flotation device and every safety precaution was taken.

“It’s just a really sad accident, and there’s no one to blame,” Wilkes said.