Conditions halt search for man in Colorado River
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Search-and-recovery efforts for a 21-year-old Louisiana man who fell into the Colorado River near No Name in Glenwood Canyon were halted on Thursday around 2 p.m.
The rescue operation shifted to a recovery mission Thursday morning. However, Garfield County Search and Rescue crews called off the recovery effort close to 24 hours after the man fell into the river.
“The water is too fast, too high and too cold to continue the recovery operation at this time. At this point the recovery is at a standstill,” said Garfield County Sheriff Office spokeswoman Tanny McGinnis.
The search began Wednesday afternoon shortly after 3 p.m., when three men attempted to cross the Colorado River in a cable-car basket that spans the river at the Glenwood Canyon Resort.
Glenwood Canyon Resort owner Kevin Schneider confirmed that the three men on the cable car were employees of the resort. Speaking at a press conference Thursday afternoon, he said the men were transporting some equipment from the south side of the river to the north side when one of the men fell into the rushing water.
An eyewitness who was staying at the resort said in an e-mail to the Post Independent that the river hit the basket with such force that it sent it “swinging into the air, then it crashed back into the water.”
Two of the workers managed to make it safely to shore. Search-and-rescue efforts for the third man were halted at dark Wednesday night.
The name of the missing man has not been released, but Schneider said that the man’s family had been contacted.
Sheriff’s spokesman Phil Strouse said in a news release that the search teams, which included 12 specialists using probing poles and three dogs, scoured the shoreline and river on rafts and a motorized watercraft on Wednesday, and again for more than six hours on Thursday.
“The hazardous conditions and associated effects to rescuers led to the searchers’ decision to suspend the operation at this time,” Strouse said in the Thursday afternoon release.
Schneider said that all of the resort’s operations have been shut down due to the accident.
“We are deeply concerned for our employees, and are undergoing an investigation,” he said. “All of our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of this missing person.”
The cable car is a roughly 4-foot-by-6-foot platform and does not have side rails. None of the men were wearing personal floatation devices, and according to Schneider, floatation devices are not standard operating procedure when using the cable car to haul equipment across the river.
The cable car has been used to haul gear and equipment across the river for close to 30 years, Schneider said.
This was the missing man’s first season working at Glenwood Canyon Resort. According to Schneider, the man began working there this spring.
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