Two teens pulled from swift Poudre River after falling off tube

Posted at 9:36 PM, Jun 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-19 00:16:39-04

BELLVUE, Colo.--One teenage boy is fighting for his life and another is recovering, after they fell off their inner tubes into the Poudre River, Sunday evening.

It happened around 5:30 pm near the 4800 block of Rist Canyon Road. Fire officials said the boys went over a low-head dam, by Watson Lake.

Bystanders jumped into action to help pull the two boys out of the water. Some even performed CPR until EMS crews arrived at the scene. Neither of the boys were wearing flotation devices while they were tubing along the river.

Someone called 911 and when first responders arrived, people helped pull the 16 year-old out of the water with a rope, who was reportedly alert and talking.

The 18 year-old was found further downstream and was pulled to shore unresponsive. He was flown to the Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland.


Denver 7 is trying to get updates on his condition.

This appears to be the first swift-water rescue of the 2017 season.

Poudre Fire Authority has averaged about two swift-water rescues a year over the past five years. 

PFA urges people, who plan to recreate in or near the river or other bodies of water, to keep the following safety tips in mind:

• Tell someone where you are going and always go with a partner, when you expect to return and where and who to call if you don’t. If your plans change while you are traveling, put a note in your car on the driver’s side dashboard with the new plans.

• Have a communication plan in the event of an emergency, not all areas west of Ted’s place have cell service.

• Wear life jackets around water. Some areas near the water’s edge and some riverbanks are unstable due to current high-flow rates.

• Stay away from riverbanks during times of high-flowing water. The banks may have become unstable and give way underneath you.

• Never forget the power of the river, especially when it is running high and fast from spring runoff or recent heavy rains.

• Be aware of the limitations of yourself in the water. Even if you are a good swimmer, fast moving water and under currents can easily catch you off guard. 

• Watch your surroundings, including the weather. Be prepared for extremes in the weather, especially if more rain is predicted. Heavy rains upstream can alter the water flow and depth in a short period of time and also contribute to hypothermia. When your clothes are soaking wet, hypothermia is a danger even in the summer.

• Carry a First Aid kit and know how to use it. Take a first aid course for CPR and basic medical assistance.

• If caught in a fast flowing river, rapids or storm water, try to float feet first in a half sit position.

• Remember: Reach or Throw, Don’t Go. If someone is caught in fast moving water, reach out to them or throw a rope to the person in the water. Don’t go into the water yourself or you may also become in need of rescuing. Call 911 ASAP with as detailed location to where the incident is located.

If your plans include wanting to be on the river in a recreational watercraft, we urge you to use one of the many qualified local rafting companies for the best experience. They have qualified instructors, safety equipment and trained staff in case of medical emergencies.

Additionally, if you are in your own recreational watercraft and it gets away from you, please call our non-emergency Dispatch number at 970-221-6540 to report the watercraft, when it is safe to do so. Have the color, approximate size and the location you last saw it and direction it was traveling so that we are aware of it and can let other concerned citizens who call in and see it know that there is no one trapped underneath the craft.






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