Hike grows costly for injured Kansan
TOPEKA, Kan. ” David Seals, his brother and a friend thought their hike in Colorado’s Clear Creek Canyon would take no longer than four hours.
They also didn’t count on receiving a more than $5,000 rescue bill after Seals, of Topeka, severely sprained his ankle and had to be helped off the side of a mountain.
“I expected there to be somewhat of a bill, but I expected most of it to be hospital,” the 35-year-old Seals told The Topeka Capital-Journal.
The bill for the June 11 rescue came from the Golden, Colo., Fire Department, the squad that arrived to the scene fastest.
“That is probably on the high end of what we charge for a rescue,” Fire Department spokeswoman Sabrina D’Agosta told The Associated Press on Thursday. “But it’s because it was at 1 o’clock in the morning, it was raining so we had very dangerous conditions. And it’s a really, really steep canyon area, and it’s a very difficult rescue to bring someone down from there.”
The $5,000 pays for personnel and equipment, D’Agosta said. The Fire Department had to run its heavy rescue truck and lighting truck during the entire rescue, which took 10 hours, she said.
The area where the rescue occurred is under the jurisdiction of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado, which doesn’t have its own technical rescue team.
The Fire Department in Golden ” about 14 miles west of Denver in the foothills ” and other agencies have agreements with the Sheriff’s Office to handle rescues.
Eurich Garcia, the friend who was hiking with Seals and his brother, is helping Seals dispute the charges. Garcia said other rescue teams that helped with the incident didn’t charge for services.
Seals has to pay the bill within 30 days or a 15-percent administrative fee will be added. An additional 8-percent charge will be added after 90 days if the bill still hasn’t been paid.
“We’re always willing to negotiate,” D’Agosta said. “If Mr. Seals indicated that he wanted to negotiate the bill, I’m sure we would work with him to get to a reasonable rate that all parties could agree to.”
Seals sprained his ankle when he jumped off some granite. After walking for a while with the injury, he realized he couldn’t go any farther.
Garcia and Seals’ brother, Robert, left Seals with water and other supplies and climbed out of the canyon to go get help.
They found an emergency phone and called rescuers. The Colorado State Patrol received the call and relayed it to the Golden Fire Department.
Rescuers had to lower Seals more than 600 feet.
Despite the incident, Seals still plans to hike ” and in the same area. He said he wants to return to the exact site in Colorado on the one-year anniversary of his injury.
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