Hunter rescued from frigid Colorado River

A hunter warns his dog away Tuesday afternoon as he waits in the Colorado River for a rescue in Mesa County. The man was in the water for about 30 minutes. Enlarge photo

Dean Humphrey/ The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

A hunter warns his dog away Tuesday afternoon as he waits in the Colorado River for a rescue in Mesa County. The man was in the water for about 30 minutes.

GRAND JUNCTION (AP) Ė Rescuers were able to carry out a frigid rescue and save a 60-year-old hunter who fell into the icy Colorado River Tuesday while trying to retrieve a goose.

The daring rescue that had a firefighter untethering from his safety line and swimming to reach the man about 60 yards out in the river, played out on a section of the Colorado that flows along Interstate 70 in Grand Junction.

Other hunters had called 911 shortly before noon after they saw the hunter in the water up to his neck and his chocolate Labrador on the ice nearby. The hunter, who has not been identified, was in the water for nearly half an hour before rescuers reached him.

Two teams of ice rescuers from two fire departments, along with help on the shore from the Colorado State Patrol and the Mesa County Sheriffís Department, carried out the rescue while spectators on both sides of the river watched.

ďTruly heroic and great teamwork by all,Ē wrote Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey on his departmentís Facebook page after watching the rescue from the shore.

ďThis was a very unusual rescue. We donít do this a lot,Ē said Lower Valley Fire Protection District Chief Frank Cavaliere, who coordinated the rescue.

The hunter was treated for hypothermia and transported to a hospital where he reportedly is doing well.

Cavaliere said his rescuers were also assessed for hypothermia on a day when the river was flowing with ice chunks and the air temperature was in the single digits.

ďThey were real cold,Ē Cavaliere said.