When a raft overturned on the Clear Creek in Arkansas, one of the casualties was a 13 year old girl who had been undergoing training in the art of piloting a few rudimentary logs roped together through a maelstrom of turbulent water.
One guide swam to shore and used his mobile phone to call the emergency services as he saw the girl swept down river.
The other guide swam after her, braving rapids, rocks and other detritus.
By the time he caught up with her, the emergency services had arrived.
Following full health and safety procedures, they were consulting their rule book, assembling their ropes, ladders, briefing their rescuers and ensuring that they had done a full risk assessment and were properly attired.
Meanwhile, our intrepid guide was still battling his way down river through the rapids in pursuit of his drowning 13 year old student.
He got out of the river and ran the final distance in order to arrive at a point before her. He jumped in again, swam out to her, successfully saved her and brought her to the shore. Whew!
Er, not so whew! The official search and rescue team were furious. They complained to the sheriff. Not their fault that they had to follow the correct steps before they actually did anything was it? ‘Elf and Safety innit?
28 year old rafting guide Ryan Snodgrass has been charged with ‘obstructing a government operation’. No really, he has.
“He was told not to go in the water, and he jumped in and swam over to the victim and jeopardized the rescue operation,” said Clear Creek Sheriff Don Krueger, noting that his office was deciding whether to file similar charges against another guide who was at the scene just downstream of Kermit’s Roadhouse on U.S. 6.
The boss of the Rafting Company has said:
“Making contact immediately with your victim is essential. It’s not about who is in charge. It’s about the safety of a 13-year-old girl. You are going to do everything in your power to ensure the safety of your guest, and if that means in Idaho Springs you get arrested, well I guess we’ll just get arrested.”
You couldn’t make it up.