In another reminder of the dangers of high-water, the Conejos County Sheriff’s was notified of an emergency distress signal located within Conejos County June 10.
The signal was located five miles south of the South Fork Trail Head and numerous signals indicated someone was in trouble in that area.
Garth Crowther, Conejos County sheriff, and law enforcement from the U.S. Forest Service, sent a four-man search and rescue team to the trailhead. The team was able to narrow the search area and get within two miles. However, they were unable to cross a creek due to high and dangerous water conditions.
A helicopter from Classic Air Medical out of Los Alamos N.M. was also on scene to help search the area, but after two hours was unable to locate the stranded victim and had to return to New Mexico.
A second helicopter, Flight For Life, was launched out of Durango and arrived in the area at 6:30 p.m. This flight crew was able to locate the victim who was trapped on the side of a mountain and could not move up or down due to the highly dangerous water conditions, according to the sheriff’s office. “There are no landing zones on the side of the river the victim was located on, and the flight team was unable to reach the individual due to high water and heavy timber,” the press release said. Provisions were dropped to the victim for the night.
Law enforcement and flight crews returned the following morning with members of the Durango Fire Department White Water Rescue team.
Update on high water
The Rio Grande River is still closed for vessels and watersports in Rio Grand and Mineral counties and the voluntary evacuations for Fun Valley Family Resort has been lifted.
A voluntary evacuation continues for Lower campground at Woods & River RV Park & Campground in Del Norte. Still closed is the Del Norte Riverwalk Trail, East Willow above North Creede, Park Creek campground and Creek Road (National Forest Service Road 380)
Associated Press is reporting that commercial rafting companies are avoiding three sections of the Arkansas River in Colorado after high water level advisories were issued between the towns of Granite and Buena Vista. The third advisory is for the river segment running through the Royal Gorge west of Canon City.