UPDATED: Swift Water Rescue Team brought child off island in the Little Wind Monday

(Riverton, Wyo.) – The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, the Riverton Fire Department’s Swifft Water Rescue Team and others successfully rescued a young boy off an island in the middle of the Little Wind River south of Riverton about 1 p.m. Monday afternoon.

Trulan Oldman, 10, and four other youths were playing and swimming in the Little Wind near the Sand Draw Highway bridge when they became caught up in the current and were swept downstream. Four of the youths made it to the south shore of the river, but Oldman, swam to the island.

Undersheriff Ryan Lee was in the area and made the call for the rescue, since there was swift water on both sides of the island.

A woman was removed from the scene. (eo)

A woman was removed from the scene. (eo)

As the swift water rescue team was launching a raft to go fetch the child, a woman, reportedly the child’s auntie, drove up to the scene, ran down the highway, emptied her pockets on the railing of the bridge’s northwestern side, raced down to the river’s edge and, according to Riverton Fire Chief Mike Hutchison, attempted to jump into the water and tried to get the young man to come to her. “He almost did,” Hutchison said, “but fortunately, he stayed put. That could’ve been really bad.” A BIA Wind River Police Officer and another sheriff’s deputy on shore stopped the woman and she was led away from the scene up to the highway swearing and cursing and in handcuffs, where two BIA officers escorted her across the bridge and into one of their patrol vehicles.

As that was happening, the rescue raft, with Matt Lee, Nate Lee and Brian Hutchins aboard wearing wet suits and helmets, reached the southern shore of the island, made their way to Oldman, placed him in a life jacket, and took him back to the raft. The raft had been anchored on the riverbank with a long rope and as the four shoved off from the island, rowing furiously, others on the shore pulled the rope and the raft ended up safely on the river bank.

Oldman was escorted by a sheriff’s deputy across a field next to the river and up to the highway to his mother, who said the kids were not supposed to be in the river, but playing in a nearby ditch. When he saw his mom, Oldman burst into tears and began crying as she wrapped her arms around him and picked him up and carried him to a waiting vehicle. “We just went into town to get some pop,” she said, “and came back to this. Later in the year the river is low and the kids can wade across…. ” she said without finishing the sentence.

Matt Lee, one of the youth’s rescuers in the raft, said Oldman was plenty scared, but followed their instructions.

It is not known if the woman detained at the scene was arrested. The BIA patrol vehicle with her inside drove away after the child was rescued.

Hutchison said it was the first time since the floods of 2010 and 2011 that the swift water rescue team was placed into action.

In addition to the men in the raft, Hutchison and Assistant Chief Scott Walters, other RFD personnel at the scene included Cory Higgs, Kim Wells, Ron Caines, and Dave Witthar.

“Obviously, I’m real happy with the outcome,” Walters said as units cleared the scene.

–reported and photographed by County10.com’s Ernie Over. Click on image to enlarge.


water rescue


  1. Joe Brandl

    rescue??? get in a canoe, paddle across, put the kid in and paddle back….

  2. Lauri Nantt

    Parents are where?

  3. Thomas Guinard

    Dumb ass made it over there. He can make it back.

  4. Heather Bouchie-Olson

    Good job parents!

  5. Chris Keele

    I am just glad none of the rescuers got hurt

  6. Gina Bowman Blumenshine

    I'm glad no one was injured. Could have gone a different way for sure.

  7. Joan Eisemann

    thank you Rescue team for reuniting this child with his mom.

  8. Rori Wright Hernandez

    I think people criticising parents have never had a 10 year old boy. Not all accidents are parenting problems. How about be happy the kids are safe.

  9. Randy Ray

    Wait till they get the bill! LOL LOL LOL

  10. Cherry McGuffin

    Apparently they can't read! There is a NO TRESPASSING sign posted there!

  11. Cherry McGuffin

    Apparently they can't read the NO TRESPASSING sign posted at the bridge lol

  12. Clarissa Kennah

    Have you never been a kid!!! I grew up on a ranch on the rez and just because my parents told me not to go there doesn't mean I didn't do it. Everyone now days think your neglecting your child/ren if your not staring right at them. yet once they turn what 13 or 14 they are sneaking out of the house and going to parties yet that isn't a parent issue, but a 10 yr old boy is out in the water on a hot day and that is a parent issue. I would rather have my kid playing in water then out possible getting raped at a party.

  13. Babette Nicholson

    That is great that they made it safe I was in an accident on the big horn river in 2009 and we were all adults and lost a person I'm glad the kids r ok

  14. Heather Bouchie-Olson

    Just want to give everyone who us commenting a heads up. I just got a very nasty derogatory message from the mother on f.b. calling me racial names & every other name in the book. Just thought county 10 & people commenting should know & be prepared!

  15. Marion Dickinson

    I have thanked God many times that the boys weren't with you and that "only" one person died.

  16. Marion Dickinson

    I agree, the most helpful thing at this point is a prayer of thanks that all are safe.

  17. Teri Witt Olson

    Way to go rescue team!

  18. Carol Eckley

    I am glad the boy is safe and that he went to the island instead of downstream.

  19. Andrea Walters

    Good job RFD!!

  20. Ben Warren

    The children were doing what children do, having fun. They probably weren't told how dangerous the river is at this time. I'm very supportive of the swift water rescue team. I'm so glad a happy ending happened here.

  21. Shannon Abeyta

    Thank god he is OK. I live by a canal and always worry about my boys getting in it when everyone is irrigating so I constantly warn and lecture my boys and I don't let them out of my sight near water. I've known grown people who are excellent swimmers to drown in rivers and with the way the rivers are now we need to educate and make sure parents and kids are aware of the danger!!

  22. Joe Brandl

    I guess they needed some practice in the raft!

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