Volunteers continue search for missing Steamboat Springs woman
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colorado – Routt County Search and Rescue volunteers continued to comb the banks of Fish Creek on Wednesday for any signs of Steamboat Springs resident Rebecca Green, but they again came away empty-handed.Incident co-commander Scott Havener was one of two volunteers who walked along the raging creek. He said the rough terrain and high water is making the search difficult.”It’s really nasty terrain – boulders and a lot of vegetation and brush,” he said. “We’re just combing the banks to see if anything’s changed, to see if we see anything new.”Search and Rescue spokeswoman Riley Polumbus said the group is monitoring the water levels to determine the best time to search again.”We would like to see it come down to 100 to 125 (cubic feet per second) in that area,” she said. There is no measuring device on that portion of the creek, but rescuers estimate the creek is fluctuating between 200 and 500 cfs now.Green, 40, and her 8-year-old son Kade, fell into Fish Creek below the upper falls Saturday. Kade grabbed onto a branch and pulled himself out of the water and had minor injuries. Rebecca Green has not been seen since.Polumbus said rains also have hampered search efforts. Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday, the creek rose 6 inches, she said.”I think everyone’s kind of racking their brains right now thinking, ‘Are there other ways we can do this or ways we can do this sooner?'” Polumbus said.A water rescue team from Summit County assisted in the search Sunday and Monday, and another rescue team may be brought in later this week for a “fresh set of eyes.” Havener said he has been in contact with several teams throughout the day to find a mutual aid agreement.Mount Werner Water closed a gate at Long Lake from 6 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Monday, bringing water levels down about 20 percent, Polumbus said, but that was not enough to make the river easily searchable. Polumbus said rescuers may request the gates shut again if water levels get low enough that it would help.Searches for the rest of the week will hinge on water levels and how many volunteers are available, Polumbus said.”We’ll continue to send people in if we can,” she said. “The only thing that would really prevent that from happening is if someone is not available, but so far people have really been willing to go.”Havener said he plans to have another group search the creek banks today and Friday.Rescuers now are focusing on the stretch of creek between the bottom of the upper falls and the second bridge. Havener said it was hard to estimate the length of river that stretch encompasses because it is impossible to walk directly next to the water.Family ‘in limbo’Green’s family members continued the search Wednesday, as well, family pastor Tim Selby said. Rebecca Green’s husband, Rodney, was out of town at the time of the accident but now is searching the site with rescuers.”It’s just a difficult and frustrating time to be in limbo like they are,” Selby said. “Rodney’s been going up to the site and kind of watching, doing what he can to be up there and aware of what’s happening up there. … There’s not a whole lot that you can do right now.”The United Methodist Church of Steamboat Springs, where Selby is associate pastor, held a prayer vigil for the family Tuesday night. Selby said the church lit a candle for each family member to pray for them.”We wanted to honor the Greens and uphold and support them any way we can,” Selby said.
Snow usually comes and goes in this part of the state. A forecasted storm is expected to stick around for a while. Forecasters are calling for snow to persist throughout the weekend in the high country, with a prospect of a couple of feet of powder by the time the storm starts to diminish on Monday.