Search and rescue crew

A search and rescue crew puts in at Hecla Junction Wednesday after reports that a commercial rafting customer had gone into the river at Big Drop Rapid and had not been recovered. The 11-year-old Golden boy had also lost his personal flotation device, and crews responded to search with boats, all-terrain vehicles, a helicopter and on foot.

Emergency responders scoured Browns Canyon Wednesday after receiving calls at about 3:40 p.m. that a commercial rafting customer, an 11-year-old boy from Golden, had gone into the river and had not been found.

The boy was still missing by press time and had not been identified.

The search and rescue effort included boats, all-terrain vehicles, a helicopter and crews on foot after reports that a rafting customer of The Adventure Company, a Johnson Village rafting company, went into the river at Big Drop Rapid in Browns Canyon, and was not recovered.

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area launched a rescue boat at Ruby Mountain campground and river access upstream of Big Drop. Search and rescue crews put in another boat at Hecla Junction, downstream of the rapid. Rescue crews also accessed the canyon through a ranch off CR 196 near the entrance of the canyon.

Chaffee County Undersheriff Derek Bos said the rescue effort was challenging because of cloudy water and high river flows. Browns Canyon was running at about 3,000 cubic feet per second most of the day. Because his PFD had been lost, the boy would likely be partially submerged and therefore difficult to spot, Bos said.

Responders included Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Chaffee County Search and Rescue North and South, Chaffee County Emergency Medical Services, Salida Fire Department and Flight for Life.

The search was called off after the sun went down but is expected to continue at sunrise today, Sheriff John Spezze said.

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