Students rescued, many still stranded at learning camps near Jamestown

Rescue by helicopters possible Saturday

DENVER - About 175 Poudre School District 5th and 6th graders finally made it out of Pingree Park in Larimer County to be reunited with their parents on Friday.

The students were at the camp to study environmental issues.  It was supposed to be an overnight trip but heavy rain that caused mudslides in nearby canyons cut them off.

"It was pretty cold and raining a lot and there were lots of mudslides and we couldn't go on hikes," one student told 7NEWS.

The stranded students were finally bused out on Friday and had a joyful reunion with their parents.

"Me and my husband were very anxious because it was the first time we ever sent him away," a happy parent told 7NEWS.

Meanwhile, 5th graders from University Park Elementary in the Denver Public School system remained stranded at Balarat Outdoor Education camp north of Jamestown, in Boulder County.  All roads leading to the camp are washed out and the only contact the camp has had with the outside world is by cellphone whenever a counselor climbs a hillside to get radio reception.

"We haven't had any contact with our daughter since we took her on Wednesday," one parent told 7NEWS. 

Principal Dana S. Williams sent emails to worried parents, telling them the students were safe and plans were being made to rescue them, possibly by helicopter.

"The Boulder County Sheriff is currently working on a plan to provide emergency supplies to the camp and is reviewing different options to safely transport our students out. I am assured that the students are safe, and the conditions at the facility are comfortable. They have adequate food and water.  The facility also has working electricity. They are on high ground and the Denver Balarat office is in continued communication with them via radio," Williams said in an email.

The principal said the students were excited about being rescued by helicopters.

"I understand the concerns and frustrations we are all experiencing during this difficult time. Our students are in good hands, and emergency responders are doing everything they can to develop a strong and thorough evacuation plan for our students as soon as it is safely possible. We will continue to work closely with the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office and will provide you updates as soon as I get them," Williams told parents.

A fifth-grade class from Louisville's Fireside Elementary is also stranded at the adjoining Cal-Wood Education Center near Jamestown and will likely be brought out on Saturday, as well.

Balarat Camp: http://balarat.dpsk12.org/

Cal-Wood Camp: http://ch7ne.ws/16roVjJ