CAÑON CITY, Colo. (CBS4) – A Colorado journalist was working on a report about the rafting industry this week when he found himself helping a girl who fell overboard. It happened on the Arkansas River near Cañon City and was caught on video.
The reporter, Spencer Wilson, works at CBS4 sister station KKTV in Colorado Springs. He was on a boat with the outfitter Royal Gorge Rafting.
In his video a 12-year-old girl can be seen sliding off the raft and into the water when it hits a rapid.
Moments later she screams and starts floating away. But then she gets closer and Wilson, who is in front, reaches out to help her.
Luckily the group was with a professional rafting crew that taught them what to do in an emergency beforehand, and when Wilson initially tries to grab her hand, she yells to him “lifejacket.” That was a reminder about the proper way to pull someone back into a raft if they’ve fallen out.
The rafting industry is big business in Colorado, but this year’s excessively high snowmelt may be too much of a good thing. The rapids are so intense that some popular areas have been closed. And some rafting companies are seeing fewer people signing up to go out on the river with them.
Professionals say high water levels aren’t for the inexperienced, and if you aren’t a veteran river runner you should always go with a guide.