Rescue crews leaving Fish Creek Falls for the day

Plans for tomorrow not yet known in the search for Rebecca Green, 40, of Steamboat Springs

Matt Stensland
Routt County Search and Rescue President Russ Sanford takes Kade Green, then 8, across Fish Creek on June 13, 2009 in a rescue mission. Search and Rescue is in the midst of its annual effort to recruit new volunteers.
Matt Stensland

— Search and Rescue spokeswoman Riley Polumbus said at 5 p.m. today that rescuers are beginning to pack up and end today’s search for 40-year-old Rebecca Green of Steamboat Springs. Green and her 8-year-old son, Kade, fell into Fish Creek below the upper falls Saturday. Kade was safely carried out by rescuers. Green has been missing since about 1 p.m. Saturday. Search plans for tomorrow are not yet decided.

Kade suffered cuts on his head but was carried out by rescuers in stable condition Saturday afternoon. Green has been missing since going into the water at about 1 p.m. Saturday.

Riley Polumbus of Routt County Search and Rescue said 15 rescuers reached the scene with all the necessary gear shortly after 11 a.m. today. Routt County searchers are stationed primarily at higher elevations, she said, to direct and monitor Summit County crews downstream, in the water and on the banks. All rescuers have life jackets and helmets, Polumbus said.

Polumbus said rescuers have found a few clues: the hat Green was wearing, about 300 yards downstream of the point where she was last seen. Crews then found Green’s two shoes about 150 yards downstream of where they found the hat. Polumbus said Search and Rescue intends to have all crews out of the field by 6 p.m. today.

“As far as tomorrow goes, we haven’t made any decisions yet,” she said.

Darrel Levingston of Search and Rescue said this morning that swift water rescuers from Summit County and Routt County are collaborating in the search.

Levingston said Saturday that Green was hiking with her son, Kade, and daughter, Rachel, and Rebecca Green’s father, who is visiting from Nebraska.

“Kade had gotten out onto this rock (and) we just hollered at him to come back, and Rebecca went after him. And must have been he slipped and tumbled, and she tried to rescue him,” Green’s father said. “I saw her reaching for him, and that was it.”

Hikers, friends of Green and rescue crews searched for Green up and down the upper part of Fish Creek on Saturday. She lives in Steamboat II with her children and husband, Rodney, who is in San Diego with the U.S. Marine Corps and expected to fly back today.

Search and Rescue Incident Commander Dawn Alperti said crews appreciated the help from the public during Saturday’s search but for safety reasons are not recruiting help today.

Parts of the creek are not easily searchable by foot, so a swift water rescue team from Summit County is expected to arrive this morning to assist with the search.

Routt County Search and Rescue crews were first paged at about 1:15 p.m. Saturday.

Levingston said Kade did not remember falling into the water but recalled going under the water at least once. Kade told Levingston that after falling into the creek, he was able to grab a branch and pull himself out on the other side.

“If that branch had broken, he wouldn’t have made it,” Levingston said. “Someone was looking out for him.”

Two rescuers, emergency medical technicians Krista Check-Hill and Jim Linville, broke trail and hiked along the far side of the raging creek for about half an hour to reach Kade at about 2:45 p.m. Kade was very cold, wet and alone, rescuers said. Onlookers could see Kade along the creek and were able to throw him some dry clothes before rescuers arrived.

While the EMTs stabilized Kade, crews set up a highline rope system to bring him back across the creek. As Search and Rescue President Russ Sanford put Kade in a harness, Kade and rescuer Krista Check-Hill gave a thumbs up before Kade’s ride across the creek.

“I was just telling him about how much fun this was and how he’s going to be in the paper,” Sanford said.

Kade was safely on the other side of the creek by 5:10 p.m.

He had lacerations to his head but was alert and talkative as rescuers brought him down the trail. Kade was treated at Yampa Valley Medical Center and released Saturday night.

“All that practice paid off,” Sanford said about the rescue effort. “I’m very proud of the team.”

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