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Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue was dispatched to the Yampa River in the area of the “D-hole” for the report of a man holding on to a tree 30 feet off the shore. Bystanders state that they noticed a man clinging to a tree in the middle of the river who appeared to be in trouble. Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue responded with a 2-man ambulance crew, the off duty Deputy chief and one off duty Firefighter as the remaining six on-duty personnel were involved in a concurrent call. Three Steamboat Springs Police Department members also assisted with the rescue.
Deputy Chief Cerasoli took command of the scene and confirmed that there was a male party clinging to a log in the river without a life jacket and no other flotation equipment. Ambulance 6-2 Firefighter/Paramedic Tony DeRisio deployed a throw bag to the stranded individual and the man was able to grab hold of the rope. Halfway from the shore as he was being pulled in the man was no longer able to hold on to the throw rope and he was taken away by the river again. A backup throw bag was deployed by Deputy Chief Cerasoli and the man was able to hold on sufficiently enough to be pulled to the shore.
Per the involved party he and another individual had been floating down the river without lifejackets on a double inner tube. At some point in the river they had begun to swim and he had lost contact without the flotation device and was swept along with the current until he was able to grab the tree and get some bystanders to call for 911. The male party was transported to Yampa Valley Medical Center with Hypothermic conditions.
Steamboat Spring Fire Rescue would like to remind everyone that the Yampa River is flowing very quickly with the spring run- off and it is recommended that everyone wear a life jacket. USGS site indicates that the Yampa River was running around 3110 CFS at the time of the call. For further questions, please contact Deputy Chief Cerasoli at (970) 846-5974. There are no images of the rescue.