Wyoming State Parks Ranger saved boy from Popo Agie River last week

    A potential catastrophic incident was narrowly averted by the quick actions of a Wyoming State Parks Ranger at Sinks Canyon on Thursday, May 16.

    While on patrol, Wyoming State Park Ranger Lonnie Porter was approached by a park visitor, who reported that a child had fallen into the Popo Agie River at Sinks Canyon State Park and had been swept away in the rapids.

    Ranger Porter immediately arrived at the scene and observed an 11-year-old boy clinging to a rock in the middle of the river. Ranger Porter requested swift water rescue assistance and EMS support. However, due to the current spring runoff conditions, the river was running high and the water was extremely cold.


    Ranger Porter instructed the boy to stay in his current position. Ranger Porter along with State Parks worker Ronnie Disbrow gathered the necessary equipment to execute a swift water rescue. He deployed a throw rope to the child, who was able to wrap it around his arm.  Because of the extremely cold water and high stress of the circumstances, the child’s cognitive and physical abilities were rapidly declining.  Ranger Porter recognized that these factors were significantly increasing the risk to the child, and made the decision to immediately execute the rescue. Ranger Porter and Disbrow pulled the child through the rapids and back to shore.

    As soon as the boy was on the shore, he was rushed to Ranger Porter’s patrol truck to start medical care. Ranger Porter along with Wyoming Game and Fish Warden Zack Burnhart administered care that included wrapping the child in emergency blankets in an effort to get him warm and raise his body temperature back to normal levels. A short time later, an ambulance crew arrived and took over patient care. The boy was transported to Sage West Hospital in Lander where he was treated for hypothermia.

    “Ranger Porter’s quick actions and use of his water rescue training skills helped prevent a loss of life”. Mark Caughlan – Wyoming State Parks Chief Ranger

    A big thank you to Ranger Porter for taking the quick and decisive action necessary to make sure that this story had a happy ending.


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