Marci Litton, Boulder County Emergency Services Coordinator, joined Ryan Root and his search dog Scout Monday morning to assist in the search. They hiked along the creek corridor, watching Scout for any indication of a scent. Around 1:20, the dog reacted to an area they had already passed and Litton saw what she suspected was the fisherman they were looking for.
Multiple search and rescue agencies were called out for the recovery efforts. Members of the Fourmile Fire Protection District, Boulder Emergency Squad, Longmont Emergency Unit, Rocky Mountain Rescue, and the Boulder County Search and Rescue team gathered near the Dome Rock area to begin the technical rope recovery of the body.
The search began Sunday afternoon, around 4:30, when a hiker called Boulder County Dispatch saying he had seen a man dressed in fishing waders being swept downstream. The man reportedly was swept under a bridge but never came out the other side.
When the BCSO learned that a 42-year-old Denver man failed to return home and his vehicle was located at the intersection of Boulder Canyon and Sugarloaf Road, the search moved from rescue to recovery, and the focus was on safety of the emergency personnel rather than speed of finding the body.
On Sunday night, the creek was running about 570 cubic feet per second, which was too fast for divers to be in the water. At 9 p.m. the rescuers were called off because of darkness and because Boulder Creek was running too high and too fast to have anyone in the water unless there was a sighting of the missing fisherman. It was decided to bring in the search and rescue dogs Monday morning.
While the recovery team worked on bringing the body up the hill to the waiting coroner’s van, another call came in, reporting an overturned kayak west of the tunnel and rescue teams headed up the canyon to begin a search effort. A Colorado Department of Transportation employee working in the tunnel had called in the report. The purple Dagger was stuck against a tree in the creek, battered by the frothing water. BES and LEU crews gathered on the far shore and worked out a 3-1 mechanical advantage rope pulley system. A diver attached to a safety rope ventured into the raging creek to attach a rope to the kayak.
The rescue crews’ goal was to determine if there was any kind of identification on the kayak, but when the diver was able to investigate, there was nothing to indicate who owned it. Shortly after the effort to bring in the purple kayak, one of the emergency workers spotted another kayak, an orange one, caught under a rock in the rapids. After an hour of attempting to dislodge the first kayak and pull it to shore, BES Chief of Operations Andy Amalfitano called a halt to the action, instructed the crews to mark the location of the kayaks and told them to get away from the creek.
According to CBS4, as of 3 p.m. on Monday, “Authorities in Boulder who were searching for possibly two missing kayakers say everyone has been accounted for after two flipped kayaks were found in the creek.”
Traffic in Boulder Canyon was reduced to one lane for about four hours during the rescue/recovery efforts.
The Boulder Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Boulder Police Department, is still working on the case of a Boulder man who was reported missing in Boulder Creek on May 11, at 8:00 p.m. He was last seen in the creek in an inner tube at the intersection of 48th Street. Kayakers have been searching the creek since he was reported missing.
The fisherman has been identified as Jason McKain of Denver.
Boulder Creek closed to swimming and single chamber air-inflated devices
Heidi Prentup, Boulder. Beginning Tuesday, June 16, 2015 at 12:00 p.m. the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office (pursuant to CRS § 33-12-111 and Colorado Boating Regulation #217 (1)(c) & (3)(c)) and City of Boulder (by emergency rule) will close Boulder Creek to floating or use of single-chambered air-inflated devices, including inner tubes and air mattresses, as it has been determined this is necessary to preserve the safety of Boulder County residents and visitors. The Sheriff, Joe Pelle and Chief of Police, Greg Testa have determined this is necessary due to the National Weather Service’s flash flood watch for Boulder County and the significant rainfall and spring runoff experienced by the County in recent days and weeks.
In Boulder County, Boulder Creek will be closed from Boulder Falls to the east County line, including within the City of Boulder.
During the closure, there will be no swimming, floating (including inner tubes), and in the County there will be no floating (including inner tubes). Although this ban does not include kayaks or canoes, everyone should be aware the water is running very high and fast and only experienced kayakers with all the proper gear and training should enter the water. We also remind kayakers and canoers that it is unlawful for any person to operate or use a canoe or kayak unless it has been marked with the owner’s name and address (and we ask that you include a telephone number) on the vessel (pursuant to CRS § 33-12-103). This information is invaluable when a lost or abandoned vessel is located. It allows rescuers to contact owners and determine if they are safe, and it could save countless hours of rescuers time.
Standing in the water while fishing is also discouraged as the water is running so fast it easily could knock you off your feet and carry you downstream. If you choose to fish, please stay on the shore and make sure someone knows where you are fishing and when you will return home.
The Boulder City Manager has issued an emergency rule that makes it a violation of Boulder Municipal Ordinance 5-5-20 (Unlawful Conduct on Public Property) to swim or use any watercraft in the water. Police will enforce the rule and may issue citations to people found violating the emergency rule.
It is violation of Colorado Revised Statute to disobey this closure and violators may receive a summons for a class 2 petty offense to include a fine of up to $100.00.