Search and rescue crews continued combing through Browns Canyon June 11 looking for a missing 11-year-old boy from Golden, but they had found no sign of him by press time.
Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze said about 55 rescue workers were searching in the canyon, using boats, all-terrain vehicles, a helicopter and their own two feet. Dogs were called in Thursday from Search and Rescue Dogs of Colorado.
The sheriff is not releasing the boy’s name because he is a juvenile and has not yet been located.
The furthest point downstream of Browns Canyon where search and rescue crews were looking was at the Big Bend river access, which is upstream of Salida and a lowhead dam.
The search has continued to be difficult as the water has risen 500 cubic feet per second since the boy’s disappearance Wednesday, said Spezze. That put Browns Canyon at around 3,500 cubic feet per second Thursday.
The sheriff’s office sent out phone alerts to residents early Thursday morning to warn of flash flooding in the county. And the higher flows have put a lot of silt into the water, making it very dark and difficult to survey, said Spezze.
Search and rescue workers also began to battle the elements as storms moved in Thursday. The emergency responders must pack up and leave at sunset, when it becomes dangerous to have them moving in the dark. But the sheriff also must pull crews out of the field to safety when lightning strikes get too close.
“We can’t expose these people to that danger,” the sheriff said.
Barring the weather, Spezze said the plan was to go at it again until dark Thursday. Then he planned to start the search again at sunrise today.
The boy was one of three people who went into the Arkansas River during a commercial rafting trip Wednesday. While the others were rescued from the river, the boy was not recovered. Chaffee County Undersheriff Derek Bos confirmed that the boy’s personal flotation device had come off.