On June 22, 2017 approximately 6:20 pm, the United States Park Police to include the National Park Service Ocean Rescue and San Francisco Fire Department responded to a person who fell from a cliff near the Lands End Painted Rock area.
United States Park Police Officers upon arrival began searching the Painted Rock cliff area and located an individual lying on a rock that was approximately six feet from the water’s edge. Officers tried to communicate with the individual however the body was not moving and unresponsive.
National Park Service Ocean Rescue responded on a rescue water craft and located the individual. The injured person had extensive trauma to her head and body. Lifesaving efforts began as the individual was taken to China Beach at which time she was transferred over to a San Francisco Fire Department Medical Unit. The individual had succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced dead by the San Francisco Fire Department.
Preliminary investigation into this matter by the United States Park Police Criminal Investigations Unit reveals the juvenile decedent and two other juveniles had parked a vehicle along El Camino Del Mar. All three juveniles walked down to a fence that has a sign indicating “Danger Area Closed.” All three juveniles disregarded this sign and made their way through this fence and walked to the Painted Rock cliffs edge. United States Park Police Detectives confirmed with two of the juveniles that they knew the area was closed to the public but did so anyway. At some point, one of the juveniles fell approximately 150 to 200 feet and landed on a large rock.
One problem with signs is that there are so many of them warning about things that actually aren’t a problem, that when there is a sign for a true problem, you don’t take it seriously.
Saturday, June 24, was a busy day in Rocky Mountain National Park. Good news is that there were no fatalities.
a 15-year-old female fell in the St. Vrain River in the Wild Basin area. She tumbled downstream approximately 50 yards over an eight foot waterfall and through significant rapids. Bystanders and family members were able to rescue the girl prior to rangers arriving. She received leg injuries and was carried out via a wheeled litter to the Wild Basin Trailhead where she was taken by ambulance to the Estes Park Medical Center.
Park rangers also assisted an injured 24-year-old male boulderer in the Chaos Canyon area who injured his leg after a fall
a 27-year-old female hiker on the Gem Lake Trail with a knee injury
a 26-year-old male hiker who had a seizure after taking a small fall at Emerald Lake. At 2:30 p.m. park rangers were notified of the incident above Alluvial Fan.
an 18-year-old from Kansas had been rock hopping on the Roaring River when he became stuck on the west side of the river. Park rangers were notified at 2:30 p.m. The young man’s family members were on the east side of the river. Rangers assessed the situation with members of Estes Valley Fire Protection District – Dive and Swiftwater Rescue Team, and after considering the complexity and length of time the rescue would likely take, it was determined that it would be safest to conduct the rescue in the morning. Rangers provided the man with warm clothes, a sleeping bag and food overnight. A ranger stayed overnight on the other side of the river from the young man.
At 5:30 a.m. this morning rescuers gathered and at 7 a.m. the highline operation began. The young man was rescued at approximately 10:20 a.m. Over 20 people were involved in the operation and Rocky Mountain National Park’s Search and Rescue team greatly appreciates the assistance from Estes Valley Fire Protection District – Dive and Swiftwater Rescue Team.
The NPS story has a large picture of the highline rescue. Impressive stuff! Nice work. Next time you go rock hopping, pay attention to where you’re going and your plan for getting back!