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Quick Response Saves Kite Boarder’s Life

Curecanti National Recreation Area

National Park News

On June 6th, an 18-year-old Gunnison man was kite boarding in the Iola Basin of Blue Mesa Reservoir while four friends watched from shore. About five minutes after launching, the man crashed into the water. He was able to swim to his kite, which provided some floatation, but he began drifting farther from shore. One of his friends tried to swim to his location, but was unable to do so because of the distance and the cold water. About 30 minutes later, another friend called 911 to report the accident. A campground host was able to locate the man through binoculars and responding rangers were directed to his location. Within 20 minutes of receiving the call, rangers retrieved the man from the lake. He had been in 52 degree water for almost 50 minutes and was showing signs of severe hypothermia, including a decreased level of consciousness. He was not wearing a wetsuit or a lifejacket. He was transported by ambulance to Gunnison Valley Hospital, where his core body temperature was measured at 88.5 degrees. Had the man been in the water for much longer, it is likely that he would have succumbed to hypothermia.


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