Lakota did the right thing
Regarding the article in the Vail Daily, June 20, 2008, I feel that significant errors were made in the reporting of the rafting incident on Thursday morning.First, as a matter of protocol, to prevent an inaccurate account of what took place, we do not comment on our trips until complete debriefing of all guides and drivers is completed. As to the specific raft trip that took place on the Eagle River, in fact no rafts actually flipped at Dead Cow Rapids. The last boat of a three-boat trip rode up on a river hydraulic spilling some guests out of the raft. The guide quickly responded and began pulling guests back into the boat. The next nearest raft came to the aid of the first boat but washed up against a debris pile along shore inducing a hyside maneuver. As a result some guests from that raft spilled into the water but a few self-rescued (swam to shore) while others were pulled in by another raft. All guests were quickly gathered up and accounted for. One guest who initially swam to shore was slightly panicked and flagged down a passing motorist. Although acting with good intentions, he unnecessarily called 911 on his own accord. Our guides quickly responded as professionals taking control of the scene before fire and Sheriff officials had even arrived. No response was necessary and no actions were taken.It is unfortunate that some guests had fallen into the river but on occasion it does happen and all commercial companies prepare their guests via the safety talk. Also, commercial raft companies in the valley pay extra attention to higher than average river flows and other extraneous conditions, and based on these collectively, opt to not offer trips on particular sections or avoid specific rapids. Often minimum ages are increased as river levels rise. Lakota Guides takes the extra step to insure that all guides and safety boaters are certified swift water rescue technicians.
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