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Salt Lake City fire captain killed in rafting accident

Captain Michael Harp was a 27-year veteran, a member of Utah Task Force 1 and had been deployed to Ground Zero during the Sept. 11 attacks

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Captain Michael Harp.

Salt Lake City Fire Department/Facebook

By Katie Langford, Julianna O’Clair
The Denver Post

VERNAL, Utah — A 50-year-old fire captain from Utah was killed in a rafting accident on the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado, National Park Service officials said Friday.

Federal officials learned that a raft was pinned on a rock in the Hell’s Half Mile rapid around 4 p.m. Thursday and that one person was missing and likely pinned under the raft, according to a news release.

The person was later identified as 50-year-old Michael Harp, a 27-year veteran and captain of the Salt Lake City Fire Department, according to a Saturday Facebook post from the department.

The group, part of a private permitted trip, were later able to unpin and recover the boat. Harp, who was pinned under the raft, became dislodged. He was unresponsive and lost his life jacket in the accident and drifted down river, according to National Park Service officials.

River patrol rangers started down the Canyon of Lodore by raft to try to find Harp’s body. His body was recovered by guides with a commercial rafting company 10 miles downstream at 7:45 a.m. Friday and taken to the Moffat County Coroner’s Office.

Harp, a resident of Sandy, Utah, was a second-generation firefighter, a member of Utah Task Force One and was deployed to Ground Zero on 9/11, according to the Salt Lake City Fire Department.

“Captain Michael Harp dedicated his life to the service of not only the citizens of Salt Lake City but also his fellow firefighters,” the department said. “His legacy of service, leadership, compassion, and contagious laughter will forever be remembered by all who knew him.”

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