Bus rolled at Parkdale last night.
When we were setting our shuttle in Cañon City, several emergency vehicles of all type took off up highway 50, toward the Royal Gorge. Never a good sign. I even stated that I hate seeing those trucks headed up that road, because it's so often river related.
Sure enough, we get to parkdale, and there are a couple vehicles, one with lights flashing. The guy tells us that this area is closed. I'm thinking there was trouble on the water. I ask him if it was up or down stream of here and he says he doesn't know what has happened, only that the area is closed. Lies, I know, but that is okay. There are a couple people on the picnic table right there, and a couple others walking up and down the hill right there. We leave to put-in somewhere else. EIther down at one of the private launches just before you enter the Royal Gorge, or upstream at Old Parkdale. We opt for Old Parkdale to avoid any possible problems at the private launches.
One mile after floating, we arrive to Parkdale put-in.
We counted 3 ambulances, 4 firefigher vehicles, several cop & sheriff & highway patrol cars as well as a "Vessels for Honor" rafting company bus. (When I got home, all three news networks had already reported the name of the company.)
The passengers were all sitting at the covered benches at the lower load/unload parking lot. As we floated onward, I noticed what looked like a blue raft up on the hill, above the road you drive to get out of the lower parking area. As we floated downstream, we realized that a tree was blocking our view of the other 4 rafts in the 5-stack trailor sitting on the road. Then we saw the yellow sliver with a big tire. The bus was fully upside down. Only the back wheels were visible and a thin line of yellow. The rest of the bus was below the vegitation and probably a bit submerged in the swampy area where it lay. The flight-for-life helicopter had landed above in the upper parking lot and had powered down. A few pictures were snapped of the bus, chopper, and as well as the emergency vehicles upstream as we floated by, (not of any hurt people who may have still been on scene).
The bus had fallen off the left side embankment of the road about 1/2 way between the put-in ramp and the 180° right turn that leads you up the hill to the highway. It was not in the river.
Later, after our Royal Gorge run, we came back up to pick up my car and spoke to someone at the scene who told us that the chopper, thankfully, wasn't used. Also, that there were no fatalities. So glad to hear that. Several people were taken to the hospital. Hopefully they will all recover soon. We were told that the bus has been removed and the only evidence remaining that anything happened are crushed weeds and vegitation.
One of the news station websites reports that one victim was choppered out of there, so some conflicting information there.
"So in two seconds, away we went, a sliding down the river, and it did seem so good to be free again and all by ourselves on the big river and nobody to bother us." -Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)