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Four Rescued From Stuck Raft On Eagle River

EDWARDS, Colo. (CBS4) - Four people were rescued here Saturday from a raft that became stuck on a large rock in the Eagle River.

Tracy LeClair, a spokesperson with the Eagle River Fire Protection District, said the department received a call requesting assistance to an area behind the Riverwalk Center at 1:45 p.m.

When they arrived, ERFPD found a large raft hung up on a large rock mid-stream occupied by three men and one woman. Crews quickly realized half the people on the raft did not have personal flotation devices.

"That was the first thing we did, was get life vests out to those two," LeClair said.

Rescuers established a rope system and pulled two men and the woman to shore. The owner of the raft -- a private venture and not a commercial outfitter -- stayed on board the raft to help rescue crews get it to shore.

Authorities have not yet learned how the craft became high-centered on the rock, but, LeClair said, "Everybody's okay. Cold, maybe. And a little shaken up. But all's well that ends well."

LeClair says the state's warmer weather is increasing snowmelt on the mountains and, consequently, runoff in the rivers.

"This time of year, we do see an increase in the number of people recreating on the water," she said. "Just in the past couple days, we have seen water levels come up significantly."

Those seeking time on the water need to make preparations, she added.

"Make sure you plan appropriately, make sure you wear life vests. Know your water conditions, they can change day-to-day. Get out in the area and scout it."

All firefighters with ERFPD, she said, are swift water trained. The Eagle County Sheriff's Office, Eagle County Paramedics, and Vail Mountain Rescue agencies assisted with the effort.

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