CARLSBAD, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico State Police has announced that the body of a flood victim has been recovered in Carlsbad. NMSP states that on June 29 around 10 p.m. officers were notified of a vehicle that drove into flowing floodwaters near the intersection of Boyd Drive and Monterrey Road.
Authorities say that the initial investigation indicates that 63-year-old John Paul Koch was driving a 2003 Jeep Wrangler traveling west on Radio Boulevard. Police say for unknown reasons, Koch reportedly drove past the road-closed barricades and into floodwaters that were rapidly flowing over the road.
NMSP says the Jeep overturned several times and was swept away in the Dark Canyon Arroyo. According to police, first responders from the Carlsbad Police Department, Carlsbad Fire Department, and Eddy County Fire and Rescue tried to attempt an immediate rescue however they were unable to deploy swift water rescue teams due to the intensity of the water and high volume.
Authorities had to delay recovery efforts until the floodwaters receded to a safe level for them to enter the water. On June 30, 2021 the NMSP Dive Team was activated and around 7 p.m. divers recovered Koch’s body which has since been sent to the Office of the Medical Investigator in Albuquerque for autopsy and identification.
This incident is under investigation by NMSP.