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Old 06-26-2008   #1
producerchik's Avatar
Lakewood, Colorado
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4yo on Flipped Raft

So, it's time now for me to get on my rafting soapbox. Read this article and tell me what is wrong...

A commercial raft flipped near Salida East Campground in the Arkansas River about 3 p.m. Tuesday, throwing seven people - including a 4-year-old girl - into the river. About a mile downriver, on the north river bank, rescuers found the missing 4-year-old with another juvenile and three adults including the river guide. They all self-rescued from the river moments before rescuers arrived, Chaffee County Sheriff Tim Walker, reported. Stephen Thompson 30; Janice Thompson, 51; Kenneth Thompson, 56; Crystal Thompson, 29 and two unidentified family juveniles, all of Fort Worth, Texas, were rafting with a Canyon Marine Rafting Co. guide. Walker reported Stephen and Janice were able to exit the river on the south side of the river. Stephen ran to U.S. 50 and flagged a motorist who called 911. Within minutes of the 2:31 p.m. emergency call, about 30 rescuers, some in kayaks and rafts, were along riverbanks searching for victims. Search boats from Salida Fire Department and Colorado State Parks were deployed from the Salida East boat ramp. Janice Thompson was rescued from the south bank of the river by emergency responders who used a rope and basket system to get her to a waiting ambulance. Five victims exited the river on the north bank where there is no road. "We used boats to take blankets and medical supplies to the victims on the north side of the river and then used all terrain vehicles along the railroad tracks to rescue them," Walker told The Mountain Mail from the scene. They were transported by ATVs to ambulances waiting near the livestock sale barn east of Salida. Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center personnel reported they treated and released four victims from the incident for being cold and wet. Other victims were not taken to the hospital. During the rescue, a heavy thunderstorm made communication difficult because of thunder, heavy rain and hail battering rescuers on both sides of the river. Other responders included Salida Police Department, Chaffee County Fire Protection District, Chaffee County Search and Rescue, Chaffee County Emergency Medical Services and Arkansas Valley Ambulance of Howard. In a press conference later, Walker said he has been asked if he has authority to close the river, but said he doesn't. "I can't just shut down the river. That's the state parks (personnel) job," he said. "But I can remind people to use common sense and make sure they are ready to get out of the river, because chances of going in at these water levels is pretty good." June 14, a raft flipped in almost the same location dumping multiple people into the river. Colorado State Parks rangers heard calls for help and rescued two small children hanging under the inverted raft as it was swept downstream.
Courtesy: The Mountain Mail

First of all, what the heck is a 4 year old doing on a commercial rafting trip on a river that is flowing at more than 3000cfs? Seriously. The Arkansas River is not a toy that needs to be played with right now. Honestly, it takes a lot to flip a raft. A lot of times, rafts flip when they hit holes or rocks. And a 4 year old should not be rafting a run with holes! I think it is the raft company's decision, on how old a child needs to be, but 4 years old is way to young for the Arkansas right now! And I hear the kid floated a long ways, before being rescued. That's because 4 year olds don't understand how to swim aggressively to the shore!!! That's insane! I just wanted to throw that thought out there real quick and see what everyone else thought.

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Old 06-26-2008   #2
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Front Range, Colorado
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4yrs old is way to young. I guided on the Lehigh River in PA, and I think our age cut off for the class III section was 6 or 8. Not to mention that river is not a legit class III anyway, more or less a solid class II with 1 or 2 class II+ mixed in there.

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Old 06-26-2008   #3
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If I was a commercial rafting company, I would NOT want the liability of a 4 yo on a whitewater trip, and if I was a parent, I sure as hell would not want my 4 yo even having the slightest possibility of swimming down the same river, where 4 adults drowned last week. Seems like a bad decision for multiple people, but I'm really glad everyone ended up safe.
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Old 06-26-2008   #4
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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Will anything posted in response to your query be used in the news?

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 06-26-2008   #5
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Originally Posted by Andy H. View Post

Will anything posted in response to your query be used in the news?

No. It won't. I just wanted to see if anyone thought this was crazy, like I did. If you post comments on my blog, there's a chance I may use it. But I won't use anything people post on mountainbuzz.
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Old 06-26-2008   #6
caspermike's Avatar
Bozeman, Montana
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4 Year old is way to young. that is some bad juju toward Canyon Marine trying to make a buck instead of telling the mother to not take the child on the raft. im sure the family didn't have any idea of what it was all about. this one really pisses me off maybe we should throw the owner in the river when they were 4 and see what happens. blatant disrepect towards the river was obvious, i wasn't expecting something like this from a rafting company. but i guess those greedy bastards would rather risk a 4yo life and make money than have the kid be safe......
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Old 06-26-2008   #7
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
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The issue with the 4 year old is child abuse on the part of the parents.

The issue with the huge rescue response is that a customer who swims doesn't need to run up to the highway and call 911.
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Old 06-26-2008   #8
Pugetopolis, Washington
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If someone wants to take their kid out on the water then the child should at least be a very strong swimmer in cold water. I doubt a 4yr old could do this...

Stupid parents. Stupid company.
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Old 06-26-2008   #9
mr. compassionate's Avatar
conifer, Colorado
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Can someone tell us what section and rapid this occurred on?
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Old 06-26-2008   #10
DurangoSteve's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
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Four yr old kid in high water?

1. The parents are imbeciles.
2. The raft company is shameless.

Good thing the kid survived his parents' stupidity and the raft company's greed.

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