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Steamboat toddler in critical condition after fall into creek

15-month-old taken to Denver after fall into Butcherknife Creek

Steamboat Springs Police Department Detective Nick Bosick, right and Capt. Joel Rae investigate the scene where a 15-month-old is thought to have fallen into Butcherknife Creek on Saturday morning in an alley between Oak and Pine Streets and Sixth and Seventh Streets.
Matt Stensland

— A 15-month-old child who fell into Butcherknife Creek on Saturday morning is in critical condition at The Children’s Hospital in Denver, police say.

Police responded to a report of a missing child at 10:51 a.m., Police Capt. Joel Rae said.

It appears that the child fell into the creek near the alley between Oak and Pine streets and between Sixth and Seventh streets. The child was pulled out by his grandfather behind the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant about 400 feet downstream. From there, the creek goes underground traveling below Lincoln Avenue before daylighting at the Ghost Ranch Saloon near the Yampa River.

Witness Denton Turner said he came out of his house when he heard the child’s grandfather yelling. Turner said he started performing CPR on the child, and water came out of the boy’s mouth.

“I don’t know how long the kid was in the water,” he said.

Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue emergency responders arrived and continued CPR before taking the child to Yampa Valley Medical Center. The boy was then flown to Denver.

Police would not release the child’s name.

Higher temperatures are melting the area’s deep snowpack, resulting in swollen rivers and creeks around Routt County. The flows on Butcherknife Creek peaked several weeks ago and have since receded.

“Although there is high water currently in Steamboat Springs and within Routt County, Butcherknife Creek is at a relatively low flow at this time,” Rae said in a news release. The maximum depth of the creek at that location was 18 inches with an estimated flow of 20 to 25 cubic feet per second.

“The case is under investigation, and it appears at this time that this is a horrific accident,” Rae said.


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