• Photo of the continental divide blanketed in snow. NPS Photo by VIP Schonlau

    Rocky Mountain

    National Park Colorado

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Swift Water Rescue at Rocky Mountain National Park

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Date: July 6, 2009
Contact: Kyle Patterson, 970-586-1363

This morning, a 54-year-old woman from Enid, Oklahoma, was posing for a photograph next to Glacier Creek along Bear Lake Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. She slipped and fell and was swept 15 to 20 yards downstream before she was able to pull herself up on a rock and hold on to a shrub. Her husband drove to Moraine Park Visitor Center to get help.

Rangers were on scene at 12:15. Rangers were able to use a rope to get a life jacket, helmet and additional clothing to the victim. Estes Park Dive Rescue and Estes Park Volunteer Fire Department along with Estes Park Ambulance assisted park rangers. Dive Rescue deployed an inflatable boat to reach the victim and assist her to dry land. She suffered from hypothermia and a broken wrist and was taken by ambulance to Estes Park Medical Center. Bear Lake Road was closed, between Hollowell Park and Park and Ride, for almost an hour due to the incident.

Mountain streams can be dangerous, especially after all of the spring runoff and continued moisture in the park. Visitors are reminded to remain back from the banks of streams and rivers and provide proper supervision for children, who by nature, tend to be attracted to water. Rocks at streamside and in the stream are often slippery and water beneath them may be deep. Powerful currents can quickly pull a person underwater.

Did You Know?

a photo of a search and rescue

In 2004 there were 190 Search and Rescue incidents in the park, a very small number considering there were about 3 million visitors to the park in that same time period.