I have refrained from posting for the most part, but this is boatertalk and I'm from the southeast so I do feel some obligation to explain myself, at least to my own community of boaters. This is what happened on clear creek. I just finished a trip on the intermediate section. I was hanging around the outpost when my manager came running and told me that a boat had missed the beginner takeout, floated into the advanced section (which begins very shortly after the beginner takeout) and had flipped. He also told me that a 13 year old girl was missing. I immediately grabbed my gear and with all the guides available, jumped into a company van and our boss began driving toward the lower canyon. This is a serious section of whitewater, much more difficult that anything I have seen commercially run in the southeast. After passing the beginner takeout, we came upon a group of road workers pointing to the river. We stopped and saw that it was a snagged rope. At this time another guide joined us with his own car. I jumped into his car and we continued down the canyon. Near a rapid called double knife, we came upon several emergency vehicles. I jumped out of the car and began running toward them. I came upon two rescuers in flippers, wetsuits, soap bar jackets, ect. I told them I worked for AVA and asked if the girl had been found. They said they didn't know and that I should just back off and let them handle things. I immediately jumped into a second company van that had made it to the scene and continued down the canyon. Above double knife is a rapid called ejector, below double knife is hell's half mile, hell's corner, clamshell, deep hole, terminator 1 and terminator 2. At this level all the rapids are connected into approx 1 and 1/2 mile of class IV-V whitewater. I knew if she was still missing then current would be moving her downstream fast. We passed through the tunnel that bypasses a large bend in the river and as soon as we exited we heard what sounded like a girl screaming. We immediately pulled over and jumped out of the van, running toward the gaurdrail. The girl was on the opposite bank on a rocky area that was cliffed out, preventing her from walking downstream to the bridge. At the same time that we came upon this scene, a couple of ununiformed rescuers also saw her, as there were rescuers spread over a large area. Myself and several other guides ran to the shore. We set ropes downstream and myself, the assistant manager, and another guide sprinted upstream, scouting for potential crossings. As we were discussing where to go, another un-uniformed man in a life jacket began yelling at us not to become involved and clear the area, he was immediately disrespectful toward us and did not identify himself. We left that area and went several hundred yards upstream below deep hell where we knew it would be easy to cross. We knew that although we could see she was no longer in the water, it was impossible for us to make an initial assessment without making contact. Shock, hypothermia, internal injuries, ect were a concern, in addition she did not know if her family had survived the swim. Another guide held safety rope where I was crossing with the additional guides downstream, below the girl, as safety. I made it to the opposite shore and the other guide threw the rope bag across to me. I did not feel I was putting myself in danger by crossing, it was a simple upstream jump from a rock at the bank, upstream swim ferry, into a well defined eddy. I found a goat trail to the girl and determined that she, miraculously, had not sustained any serious injuries. I began scouting areas to set up a possible rope pendulum. At this time I was ordered by a rescuer from the opposite bank, not to move the girl. He said he was in charge and that I should not move the girl. I said that I was swiftwater certified, and he repeated not to move the girl. At this point, I felt the girl was safe and I decided to stay with her until the rescuers made it across. This took 30 to 40 minutes. The rescue swimmers first set up to swim directly across from us, the current here made it an impossible task. I advised them not to cross there and they then crossed upstream, I'm assuming the same spot as myself...I couldn't tell because of the bend. They reached her and did a second initial assessment. At this point I withdrew to the background and let them continue the rescue, I also advised them that there was an undercut wall downstream and any rescue that they were going to attempt should consider that a factor. about 40 to 50 minutes later, the girl was brought across the river by an elaborate system of ropes that allowed the rescuers to ferry a boat across the river and back by being pulled with ropes extending the entire width of the river. I then was "rescued" in the same technique and was cuffed upon stepping on the shore. They walked me to the car after allowing me to remove some gear. I was driven to the georgetown jail where I sat wet for several hours before my brother came to bail me out.
This is my 10th season guiding, I've worked around the southeast and Colorado. I have been kayaking since I was 14. I am swiftwater rescue certified, trip leader, training manager, safety kayaker, and cpr/first aid certified.
Thanks for all you guys backing me up,