Jose Soto, the Farmington man who died after his raft flipped in the Animas River in June, died of asphyxia and cold water-immersion drowning, according to an autopsy.
The incident occurred in the Durango Whitewater Park on June 16, when the Animas was running high. Soto, 56, received intensive cardiopulmonary resuscitation after being pulled from the water, but emergency responders could not restore breathing. He was transported to Mercy Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
There had been some speculation that the cause of death might have been cardiac arrest because Soto had a history of pulmonary hypertension. But that was not the case.
“Basically, he drowned,” said Jann Smith, La Plata County coroner, “but it’s reasonable to say the cold water contributed. It was just an unfortunate set of circumstances.”