9 rafters rescued from Poudre River on Fourth of July, one taken to the hospital

Poudre Fire Authority members rescue nine people from the Poudre River on the Fourth of July. (Photo: Poudre Fire Authority)

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Eight people were rescued and one person was taken to the hospital via helicopter Thursday afternoon.

The Poudre Fire Authority and partner agencies responded to a water rescue call on the Poudre River near Lions Open
Space on Overland Trail at 3:17 p.m. Thursday, according to a news release from the Poudre Fire Authority.

Bystanders said rafters were in need of help, according to the release.

Eight people were on an “island-like structure” and they were giving one person CPR, which rescuers took over when they arrived.

A ninth person was found in a tree in the river.

All were rescued and one person was transported by Lifeline helicopter, according to the release.

“We can’t underestimate this river,” said the battalion chief on scene, in the release. “It is as unpredictable as it is strong and responders train
intensively to prepare for swiftwater rescues.”

In 2018 the Poudre Fire Authority responded to 21 water rescues, and one rafter is missing this season, according to the release.

Although the fire authority does not recommend river recreation, if you do go out on the water the fire authority asks you to follow the following safety tips:

  • Always wear a personal flotation device that is rated for your activity. Not all life vests are the same and the Poudre River is currently flowing high and fast.
  • Remember that the river water is significantly colder than you may anticipate. It is currently around 48 degrees and people can easily experience hypothermia when in the water.
  • Scout your route the day of your water recreation. The river can change in a matter of hours. An area that appears free of obstacles in the morning could have several obstacles by the afternoon.
  • Float sober – the unpredictability and variety of obstacles in the river requires your full, unimpaired attention.
  • Always crawl out of the river to avoid foot entrapment near the shore.
  • Never underestimate the power of the water.
  • 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 immediately with as
    many details as possible about the location.
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