KINGMAN - This year's river regatta on the Colorado River last weekend was so successful, some organizers and floaters are wondering whether attendance should be limited next year.
An estimated 29,000 people attended the regatta on Saturday, far surpassing city estimates of 20,000. During Tuesday's Bullhead City council meeting, Mayor Jack Hakim addressed the backup on the river landing and talked about having transportation and shuttle services better coordinated for future floats.
Hakim also talked about having a better plan in place to deal with the large amount of trash left in the river and on the beaches by floaters. Workers were out until 9 p.m. the day of the float and again Sunday and Monday picking up trash.
Unlike 2010, when a California man drowned during the event after removing his life jacket, no deaths were reported this year, but dozens of people were sent to the first-aid tent and area hospitals.
Bullhead City Public Information Officer Steve Johnson said most of the hospitalizations involved alcohol, heat and laceration-related injuries. More than 1,700 bottles of water were distributed to combat the heat, which was tempered at times by cloud cover and rain drops.
Around 20 people were taken to the Valley View Medical Center Emergency Room. Eight of those people were treated for severe alcohol intoxication. An additional 30 to 40 people were taken with Western Arizona Medical Center, with six patients requiring an air transfer to hospitals in Las Vegas.
Some 14 people were arrested during the event. Charges ranged from disorderly conduct to driving under the influence to aggravated assault after someone struck another person with a water bottle.
City officials said this year's attendance far exceeded expectations, with many floaters registering for the regatta the morning of the float. Awards were handed out to groups with the best raft for this year's pirate-themed float.