Contractor drowns when skid steer topples into river in Colorado

The scene near a bank of the Animas River where a contractor was killed after his skid steer toppled into the river. Credit: Shaun Stanley/Durango HeraldThe scene near a bank of the Animas River where a contractor was killed after his skid steer toppled into the river. Credit: Shaun Stanley/Durango Herald

A contractor was killed in Durango, Colorado earlier this week after the skid steer he was operating toppled into the Animas River.

The contractor, identified as Charles William Huntoon Jr., 32, was the owner of CH Propterty Service and was clearing brush near the bank of the river, according to a report from The Durango Herald. A follow-up report from the Herald says, “Huntoon was backing toward the river with an attachment on the skid-steer when the bank caved in.”

The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office said the machine landed upside down in the river, flooding the cab and drowning Huntoon.

The machine was submerged for about 40 minutes before authorities could remove it from the river using a crane.

Known to his friends and clients as “Chip,” Huntoon’s death sparked an outpouring of support in the comment sections of both Herald articles.