Colorado Springs

Lake Pueblo park rangers better prepared for swift water rescues

With warmer weather, more people are heading out to our local lakes and rivers.

For Park Rangers at Pueblo Lake, they now have more tools to be able to help if something goes wrong.

This year, all of their full time rangers were put through swift water training so they could respond to rescues themselves instead of waiting for another agency to get there.

Ranger Lucas Owen said they noticed several calls over the last few years that they could respond to, but up until now, they were only capable of throwing ropes to people in distress. That was very limiting into what they could do.

The Coast Guard was able to help the agency with a grant, allowing their full time rangers to get swift water rescue gear, and to go through the training.

For Ranger Lucas Owen, he put his skills to the test for the first time this week.

On Thursday, a woman and a child were caught on a log in the cold, fast moving Arkansas River.

Owen moved quickly to enter the water and get to the pair.

He also added that even with experienced swimmers or rafters, the risks are still present.

“The cold of the water can definitely surprise you. Even as you're looking out at the water itself it doesn't really look like the water is moving that quickly,” said Owen.

Park rangers say the first line of defense when it comes to staying safe in swift water, is to always wear a life jacket. 

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