BOULDER, Colo. - People gathered Sunday to pay respects to the 13-year-old who died when she was swept downstream for 6 miles in Boulder Creek after the pickup she was riding in plunged into the water and overturned.
The accident happened at 4:45 p.m. Saturday just west of Sugarloaf Road in Boulder Canyon.
Investigators say two vehicles were eastbound in the Canyon when the first vehicle stopped suddenly to avoid hitting a bear.
“The truck tried to avoid the accident,” said Cmdr. Steve Cullen, of the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, “but it rear-ended the (first) vehicle, and that caused it to go into the creek.”
The truck was left in the water overnight because of safety concerns about removing it, but was recovered Sunday afternoon.
Along with recovery crews, people who didn't even know the child stopped to honor her.
"It hit me because I have a child and we want our children to grow up," said Judy Inchingolo.
Inchingolo brought her son and husband to perform a spiritual ritual, playing a drum, lighting incense and throwing flowers in the water.
People in Nederland told 7NEWS that the girl who died lived there. Her father and sister who were also in the truck Saturday were able to escape the creek.
First Responders from the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Services, Boulder Police Dept., University of Colorado Police Dept., Colorado State Patrol, Boulder County Parks and Open Space, Sugarloaf Fire, Four Mile Fire, Boulder Fire, Boulder Emergency Squad, Longmont Emergency Unit, AMR Ambulance, North Colorado Med Evac and Front Range Rescue Dogs all joined in the search along a six mile stretch of Boulder Creek.
At 6:07 p.m., police scanners indicated that crews were in the water attempting a rescue near Boulder High School.
Lucas Hayas was returning from an outing with friends when he saw several emergency vehicles heading toward the School.
He heard a commotion.
“There was a great deal of yelling,” he said. “People started moving fast, so I just ran with them.”
Hayas watched rescuers pull the victim out of the creek and snapped a few photographs.
“The water was incredibly high,” he said. “You know, you don’t see much when this sort of thing goes down, but a yellow helmet popped up and a bunch of people ran to the spot and they just immediately tried to pull her out.”
The child was rushed to Boulder Community Hospital, but efforts to revive her were unsuccessful.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Hayas said. “I used to do search and rescue for the Air Force Auxiliary, so I have a bit of composure when it comes to these things. But after everything quieted down, you go back to your car, the adrenaline wears off and you kind of go, “Whoa!”