Ditch proves dangerous for two people and a dog
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” Aspen firefighters Wednesday rescued two people and a dog stuck in a 400-foot underground culvert near the Sunnyside Trail west of Aspen.
When she saw her a black lab, Glover, struggling against the current near the mouth of a culvert along the Salvation Ditch shortly before 9 a.m., Heidi Bauman, 50, jumped in to rescue the canine. But she slipped on the bottom of the ditch and 3 feet of rushing water swept her 200 feet along the underground pipe.
“I went to go grab him and I slipped and I just kept going,” Bauman said. “I thought I was drowning.”
Bauman, a Miami resident who owns a home in Snowmass Village, was hiking with her sister-in-law, Nancy Bauman, and her two dogs, as well as Sandy Krohn, 27, a friend from New York.
The sister-in-law called 911 while Krohn jumped into the culvert to see if he could help. He swam the 200-feet of underground pipe to find Heidi Bauman, but without knowing what was at the end of the tunnel, the two stayed put in the culvert, awaiting rescue.
“I just braced myself against the wall,” Heidi Bauman said. “I was freezing.”
“They had stopped themselves, but they couldn’t come back against the flow,” said Pitkin County Deputy Michael Kendrick.
Aspen Fire Protection District volunteers used ropes to navigate the swift water and retrieve the pair.
“Honestly, I cannot tell you how they got us out of there,” Heidi Bauman said.
Rescuers estimated the pair were in the water for more than 30 minutes.
Mountain Rescue Aspen volunteers carried Bauman down the mountain and both Bauman and Krohn were taken to Aspen Aspen Valley Hospital for treatment of possible hypothermia. Both were treated and released.
Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputies, Aspen Ambulance, Basalt Fire/Rescue and Aspen Police were on scene with support.
“I don’t think we’ve ever done a culvert rescue,” said Kendrick, adding he did not want to second guess the actions of the victims. However, he stressed the importance of not diving in to rescue someone and making the situation worse.
“Leave the rescue to the professionals,” said Kendrick.
He added: “Everything turned out great.”
Bauman said she was sore and scraped and “a little flipped out” Wednesday afternoon after the rescue. She said she is worried there is no grate or cover on the opening of the underground culvert.
“It’s something I never want to do again,” Bauman said. “It sucks you in … What if it was a kid?”
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