Imig takes Grand Canyon raft spill

Connie Imig, a recent candidate for Durango City Council, is recuperating at home after suffering a concussion, a sprained wrist and bruising when her raft overturned Wednesday in the Grand Canyon on day 11 of a 14-day trip.

“I didn’t ever feel afraid,” Imig said in a phone interview Sunday night. “I guess I just thought it wasn’t my time. I just thought I have to get to the top of the water,” she said.

Imig said her party had crossed several Class 10 rapids on the Colorado River when they came to Lava Falls, “the granddaddy of them all.”

“We went down it, and our boat went over the top of the ripples, then all of a sudden, it felt like the bottom fell out,” she said.

Imig and one of the men on her raft did not pop to the top quickly, which worried the raft guides, but when she did get to the top, she was near the shore.

Imig, who was on the trip with her husband, Richard, a Durango accountant, was flown by helicopter Wednesday evening to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas, where she spent a couple of days in the trauma unit. Although she suffered a concussion, she didn’t suffer bleeding in the brain or brain swelling.

Imig serves as a mountain safety volunteer at Durango Mountain Resort and said she knew the symptoms for a head injury. When she had no appetite for Wednesday night’s gourmet dinner, she suspected she might have suffered a head injury.

As the night wore on, she said she felt progressively worse.

“Everyone was checking on me, and all of a sudden, I felt sick to my stomach, I had blurred vision, I broke out in a sweat, I threw up – all the classic head-trauma symptoms.”

Rafting guides used a satellite phone to call for a helicopter evacuation about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Imig said she feels better every day, and she plans to return to work today at the Spaah Shop and Day Spa, but she added she may need to sneak away for a nap.

patrick@durangoherald.com

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