WATCH: 11 News reporter pulls off dramatic river rescue in southern Colorado

By  | 

CAÑON CITY, Colo. (KKTV) - Rafting companies say they normally have about 200 clients a day.


This summer in Cañon City, they're seeing more like 60 to 80 customers some days, which has them worried.

11 News reporter Spencer Wilson got on the Arkansas River to get a first hand experience and was even part of a pretty dramatic moment, where he was a part of a rescue.

After a 12-year-old rider slips out of the raft, Wilson attempts to pull the girl back int. First, he reaches for the girl's hand but she yells out "lifejacket!," reminding Wilson of the proper way to pull off the rescue.

The rest of the trip ranged from calm smooth rides to more adventurous moments, but guides with years of experience made sure those waters were traversed carefully and safety. Additional team members in canoes kept a close eye on the guests as they floated along nearby.

Guides tell 11 News that visitors should always go over the basic safety rules before making their way on the river.

Experts said the most important thing to bring along is a lifejacket. They said it needs to be tight because if you need to be rescued, this is what the rescuer will be reaching for to pull you back in the raft.

11 News got the chance to catch up with the owner of Royal Gorge Rafting and Zip Line Tours.

Water levels are the highest they have been in years thanks to a massive snow pack. Dealing with shifting weather conditions are adding extra challenges (and opportunities) for companies, like a double edged sword.

"I mean it snowed on the solstice so that makes for a challenge" said James Whiteside.

The high water levels are allowing for "world class" rides along the river, but Whiteside admits the weather hasn't been as cooperative as he would have liked, but on the day our reporter went out more than half the ride was spent soaking up the sunshine.

If there's one thing that Wilson took away from the experience, it's that this rescue is proof that these raging waters can be ridden safely.

Royal Gorge Rafting told 11 News that the nice summer weather brings back a good number of rafters onto the river and they are hoping that trend continues.