Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Grim, Difficult Task is Completed

On October 14th, I blogged about the heart-breaking case of 23-year-old, first-year whitewater rafting guide Kimberly Appleson who fell out of a raft during a private trip, became trapped and drowned in the dangerous Frog Rock Rapid on the upper Arkansas River in Colorado in July. Since then, Stew Pappenfort, the Senior Ranger for the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area and my expert consultant for my RM Outdoor Adventures mystery series, has coordinated multiple attempts with multiple search and rescue teams to try to locate and retrieve her body from the underwater caverns in this section of the river.

The latest effort involved the creation of a temporary coffer dam to divert most of the river flow from the area being searched and the use of three rescue dive teams from the Colorado Springs Fire Department to finally locate and extract her body. You can read newspaper articles about the complex operation here and here. Kimberly's family and friends now have closure and so do Stew and the other search and rescue personnel from multiple counties who have been working so diligently since July to bring that closure. I applaud all of the rangers, divers, and rescue personnel involved for a job well done.


Clare2e said...

That is a sad story, but it's admirable of all those involved to dedicate themselves to bringing her back to those who love her most.

Beth Groundwater said...

Yes, it's a sad story, but the dedication of the S&R folks is uplifting. They'd much rather be pulling live people out of the river, saving them, but they do have a great deal of respect and concern for fatality victims and their families, too. I'm honored to be able to write about what whitewater river rangers do in my RM Outdoor Adventures mystery series!