Fish Creek rescue
An 8-year-old boy was rescued Saturday after falling into Fish Creek. The boy's mother, Rebecca Green, is still missing.
Steamboat Springs Crews have narrowed the search area for Rebecca Green and are continuing their search today of upper Fish Creek Falls, where they hope to locate the Steamboat Springs woman missing since Saturday afternoon.
Riley Polumbus, spokeswoman for Routt County Search and Rescue, said local rescuers and crews from Summit County searched high-probability areas at the immediate base of the upper falls "very, very thoroughly" Sunday, but because of rocky, unstable terrain and deep, fast-flowing water, many spots remain unchecked.
The 40-year-old Green and her 8-year-old son, Kade, fell into Fish Creek below the upper falls Saturday. Kade was safely carried out by rescuers and released from Yampa Valley Medical Center on Saturday night after treatment for cuts on his head. Green has been missing since about 1 p.m. Saturday.
Polumbus said the length of the search has dimmed hopes of a successful rescue.
"At this point, we're expecting this to be a recovery," Polumbus said Sunday evening, adding that the Green family understands the situation. "The family has been in touch with us throughout the day."
Decreased water flows could help crews at the scene today.
Polumbus said Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District officials agreed to close the water gate at Long Lake, about two miles upstream from the upper falls, to possibly slow the water in the search area.
Mount Werner Water operations manager Jeff Peterson said he will close the gate by radio control at 6 a.m. today. The gate was about 30 percent open, he said, and its closing will have "no impact whatsoever" on service for Mount Werner Water customers.
Peterson said because of heavy remaining snowpack and strong water flows, the district is "barely using" water flowing from the falls past the filtration plant on Steamboat Boulevard. He said the heavy flows and runoff from other sources also make it difficult to gauge the benefit of closing the Long Lake gate for search crews.
"I don't know how much that will help them," Peterson said. "Remotely, I cannot tell how much (closing the gate) will stop the flow."
Polumbus said any decrease could help crews, who estimate Fish Creek could be 20 feet deep in some spots.
Polumbus said search crews Sunday found the hat Green was wearing about 300 yards downstream of the point where she was last seen, then they found Green's two shoes about 150 yards downstream of her hat. The items helped narrow the search area, Polumbus said.
Green lives in Steamboat II with her children and husband, Rodney, who was in San Diego with the U.S. Marine Corps when the accident happened and spent much of Sunday at the Fish Creek trailhead with search crews.
United Methodist Church pastor Tim Selby said the Green family is part of his parish, and he has known them for years.
"They are doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances," Selbe said Sunday evening. "They're hanging in there."
Paula Huselton lives near the Green family on Steamboat Drive. She said Rebecca Green is "a very lovely, kind person."
"She's always really good with her kids," Huselton said. "She always has a kind word to say."
Darrel Levingston, of Search and Rescue, said Saturday that Green was hiking with Kade, her daughter, Rachael, and her father, Eldon Adams, who is visiting from Nebraska.
Green's father witnessed at least part of the incident. He said Green was trying to bring Kade back from a rock when Kade slipped and, as she tried to rescue him, Green fell into the water herself.
Kade told Levingston that, after falling into the creek, he was able to grab a branch and pull himself out on the other side.
Two rescuers reached Kade at about 2:45 p.m. Crews set up a highline rope system to bring him back across the creek. Kade was safely on the other side of the creek by 5:10 p.m. He was alert and talkative as rescuers brought him down the trail.
The Fish Creek area will be closed during the search today.
- To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4233 or e-mail email@example.com