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Body recovered in Colorado River crash; three boaters still missing

Body recovered in Colorado River crash; three boaters still missing
Sheriff's dive teams search for missing boaters in the Colorado River. (San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department)

The body of one of four people missing since Saturday when two boats crashed head-on and sank in the Colorado River was pulled from the water Monday as the search for the others continued, the sheriff’s office in Mohave County, Ariz., said.

Officials identified the victim as Christine Lewis, 51, of Visalia, Calif., but released no other information about her.

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She had been missing since about 8 p.m. Saturday when a northbound Hallett boat carrying 10 people collided with a southbound Sleekcraft with six aboard, officials said. The crash occurred on the California-Arizona border north of Lake Havasu, between Pirates Cove and Topock Marina near Moabi Regional Park.

All 16 were thrown into the fast-moving river as the two boats sank. Several people were pulled from the water by other boaters. One critically injured woman was airlifted to a Las Vegas hospital, officials said, and nine others went by ambulance to area hospitals.

The boats hit head-on while traveling about 50 mph, according to an emergency dispatcher whose report was broadcast on local TV stations.

Anita Mortensen, a sheriff’s spokeswoman, said Monday that investigators had not determined what role speed might have played in the accident.

“We haven’t come up with anything on contributing factors yet,” she said, adding that efforts are focused on finding the missing boaters. “Once they are located, then we can continue pursuing that information.”

Lewis and the three people still missing — two women and one man — had been riding in the Hallett, officials said. Lewis’ body was recovered about 7:30 a.m. Monday, officials said.

The river was jammed with Labor Day weekend visitors at the time of the crash. Those aboard the boats were friends and family, some from outside the area. No one wore a life jacket.

“It is not mandated that they do, though we encourage it,” Mohave County Sheriff Doug Schuster said Sunday.

Staff writer Esmeralda Bermudez contributed to this report.

3:20 p.m.: This article has been updated with information on the missing victims.

2:55 p.m.: This article has been updated with the victim’s home town.

This article originally published at 11:20 a.m.

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