Wear It!

Man Drowns In Dowdy Lake After Canoe Flips

 Greeley Man Lost Underwater For More Than Two Hours POSTED: 1:01 pm MDT April 15, 2007 UPDATED: 6:03 pm MDT April 15, 2007 

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — A canoe trip on Dowdy Lake turned tragic Saturday after a Greeley man overturned his canoe and was killed. The Larimer County Coroner said 35-year-old Edwin C. Heiden drowned after spending more than two hours underwater. Larimer County sheriff’s officials said Heiden, his 36-year-old brother and his 10-year-old nephew were all in the canoe when it flipped Saturday afternoon. 

Another boater helped get Heiden’s brother, Matt Heiden, and the boy to safety, but they couldn’t find Heiden. Sheriff’s officials said only the boy was wearing a life jacket. Heiden’s wife, Candy Heiden, said they had just bought new life jackets that morning. "They figured they would have enough time if anything would happen to grab them," she said. 

When the canoe flipped in 40-degree water, the jackets never surfaced and the cold began to set in, his family said.  

They told 7NEWS that his only thought when the canoe overturned was to save his nephew, and that’s what cost him his life. They said Heiden held his nephew’s head out of the water and tried to pull him to shore.  

"He was a hero because he saved this little boy’s life," Candy Heiden said. "He saved his nephew’s life."  

The Larimer County Dive Team found Heiden’s body around 4:45 p.m. Sheriff’s officials said they’re not sure how the canoe flipped.  

"He was doing what he loved to do the most," Candy Heiden said. "Being up in the mountains and fishing and being with his brother." She said the three almost flipped the new canoe earlier in day as they were launching it. "I wish they would have," she said. "Then they wouldn’t have gone out."  

Heiden’s family said they pray other families won’t have to go through what they have.  

"Please wear your life jacket, no matter what," Candy Heiden said. "It doesn’t matter if you’re a 6 foot 8 guy and 300 pounds." The family said they are grateful for the boater who just happened to be passing within a few minutes of the canoe capsizing. They said if he hadn’t, they would be mourning the loss of three lives.