Documents prompt questions regarding response time to Poudre River drownings

DENVER - Incident reports obtained by CALL7 Investigators raise serious questions surrounding the emergency response to the drowning of a 14-year old and his uncle on the Poudre River. Documents show nearly an hour passed before swift-water rescue crews were dispatched to the scene.

The Poudre Fire Authority's directive for swift-water rescue states that Engine 7 and Boat 7 are dispatched automatically. However on May 26, despite being fully staffed and the closest response team to the emergency, they never got the call from dispatch.

Carl Solley, of the Poudre canyon fire protection District, told 7NEWS that the Christopher Alania,14, was fishing with his family at the Ouzel Campground area, about 12 miles west of Ted's place.

"He dropped something into the water and tried to retrieve it," Solley said. "That's when he fell in."

Solley said the boy's uncle Jose Terrel, 38, jumped into the water to try to save him.

The incident time log from the Poudre Fire Authority shows the call came in for a "swift water rescue" at 11:51 a.m., but the first unit didn't arrive on scene until full hour later at 12:51 p.m. The first to arrive was not a rescue crew, rather it was an ambulance dispatched more than twenty minutes after the first call for help.

The log also shows Engine 2, which is located further from the incident than Engine 7, arrived nearly an hour and a half after the initial call.

The closest swift-water crew to the scene would have been Engine 7, which is equipped with a Zodiac boat, and strategically placed for quick access to the Canyon.

"About a mile-and-a-half down the river, the uncle was rescued by some good Samaritans in the diamond rock day use area." Solley said.

Kayakers discovered the teen's body about 8 miles downriver from where the boy fell into the river.

Autopsies confirmed that both the teenager and his uncle died in the fast-moving Poudre River from drowning. The teenager also suffered head injuries.

 

This story was updated to show the incident time log was received from Poudre Fire Authority, not Poudre Canyon Fire Protection Department.

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