1 Person Dead and 3 Missing After Boats Collide and Sink on Colorado River

Authorities have found the body of one person and are searching for three other passengers after two recreational boats crashed and sank on Saturday night in a section of the Colorado River near the border between California and Arizona.

According to CBS News, the force of the collision, which took place around 8 p.m., threw several passengers into the water, and some were swept down the river.

Some victims were located as far as five miles downstream from where the crash took place, while others were rescued by passing boats, the outlet reported.

There were 10 people on one boat and six on the other, all from out of town, Mohave County Sheriff Doug Schuster shared in a press conference on Sunday.

Of the 16 passengers, nine were injured during the crash, two of whom were airlifted to a Las Vegas hospital with critical injuries, according to authorities. One was found dead in the Colorado River on Monday at 7:30 a.m., and three are still unaccounted for, Anita Mortensen, a public information officer with the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, told PEOPLE.

“Unfortunately, it is all too common that we have accidents on the Colorado River, and unfortunately in this case … no one was wearing life jackets,” Schuster told the press. “It’s not mandated that they do so, but we certainly encourage folks to do that because of situations just like this.”

The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office is conducting topwater and shoreline searches in case any of the remaining missing passengers may have made it to shore, authorities said. A dive team was also brought in from San Bernardino County, California.

Schuster called the possibility that anyone made it to shore “remote” and explained that the search team is “actively treating this as potential drowning.”

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The crash occurred just north of the Topock Marina off Interstate 40. The marina opens up into a large gorge, and the entire search area has a two-mile circumference. The area is especially well-traveled during holiday weekends, and the risk of such accidents is higher during the night, Schuster said. He added that while accidents on the Colorado River are common, this is the first time an accident has occurred in this spot.

The sheriff’s office said an investigation is on hold until all the missing passengers have been accounted for.

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