Boy pulled from Ruedi Reservoir on Sunday dies

Jason Auslander
The Aspen Times

A 3-year-old boy pulled unconscious from Ruedi Reservoir on Sunday died Monday afternoon at Children’s Hospital in Denver, a Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office official said.

The boy and his family, from Parker, south of Denver, were camping at Dearhamer Campground and packing up to leave when a fisherman found his body in the water just before noon, said Jeff Lumsden, patrol director with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office. 

The fisherman saw the boy floating at the east end of the lake where the Upper Fryingpan River enters the reservoir, said Lumsden and Basalt Fire Chief Scott Thompson. The fisherman yelled to someone nearby, and the two people began performing CPR on the boy, Lumsden said.  

Emergency officials first received the call about the situation around noon, Lumsden said. A volunteer from the Basalt Fire Department based in Thomasville arrived within five minutes and took over the CPR efforts, Thompson said. Personnel from those departments as well as the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, the state Parks and Wildlife department and the U.S. Forest Service also assisted, Lumsden said.  

A medical helicopter based at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs flew the boy to Aspen’s airport, where he was then taken to Aspen Valley Hospital, Lumsden said. Not long after, the boy was flown to Denver.  

“He was in bad shape,” Lumsden said.

While officials continued the CPR efforts until the helicopter arrived, the boy never regained consciousness, though he showed signs of life, Lumsden said. The boy died about 3 p.m. in Denver, Lumsden said. Authorities declined to identify the boy.

At the same time officials were dealing with the situation at Ruedi, emergency dispatchers received two calls for swift-water rescues on the Roaring Fork River below El Jebel, he said. And while both people were able to self-rescue, Lumsden warned people to be careful around fast-running rivers and streams this time of year that are flooded with snow runoff from the high country.