Mountain Mail Article
Casey Kelly, Mail Staff Writer
Emergency crews responded Friday to an overturned raft in the Arkansas River, near the Big Bend low-head dam north of Salida, before the occupants were found safe.
Salida Fire Chief Doug Bess said upon arrival at the scene, his crew found a blue raft overturned in a rapid near the Big Bend dam, which is between the bridges at CR 166 and Colo. 291.
Bess said Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials launched two search boats downstream because initially the occupants of the raft were unaccounted for.
Bess said the occupants were two unidentified young women.
“Over time, speaking with the gentleman up on the hill (above the dam) and another reputable source that came down the river, they verified that the boat had been there since about 11:45 (a.m.),” Bess said.
“We had some private boaters working with throw bags. They got (the raft) out of the low-head dam, and they’re going to get it back over to these two young ladies. Luckily they got out.”
Bess said he did not know where the two women initially went after the raft flipped over.
“Now it’s just a matter of getting them their boat back,” Bess said.
Salida Fire Department, Chaffee County Emergency Medical Services, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Chaffee County Search and Rescue North responded to the call, according to Bess.