Teen breaks leg in Punchbowl plunge | AspenTimes.com

Teen breaks leg in Punchbowl plunge

A local teenager trying to jump into the Devil’s Punchbowl up Independence Pass collided with a rock ledge Thursday afternoon, severely breaking his leg.The 18-year-old El Jebel man, whose name was not available at press time, was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital where he was undergoing surgery late Thursday, according to Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Lumsden.”It was really a grab-and-go,” Lumsden said of the rescue effort. Since the injury was a compound fracture of the femur, rescuers had to rush the teenager to the hospital as quickly as possible.The Devil’s Punchbowl, located a short walk from the Grottos Recreation Area parking lot about nine miles east of Aspen, features rock ledges above the Roaring Fork River. It’s a popular spot for those who dare to leap into the river in the summertime. On Thursday, a group of friends had gone up to the Grottos and were hanging out at the Devil’s Punchbowl when the accident occurred.Lumsden estimated the teenager jumped from about 40 or 45 feet above the water when he hit a rock ledge at about 25 to 30 feet down. Water levels are currently low in that area, he said, making the rock ledge and the fall seem higher.After hitting the rocks, the teen fell into the river where his friends rushed in to help him. Members of the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, the Aspen Volunteer Fire Department and passers-by then helped get the teenager into a sling stretcher so he could be brought from the river, which sits between steep rock walls, to the road.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail is nhavlen@aspentimes.com

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