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Sinks Canyon ranger rescues boy swept away in rapids

The ranger decided conditions were too extreme to wait for the water rescue team, the release said.

Popo Agie River (Sinks Canyon State Park, Facebook)

CASPER, Wyo. — A Wyoming State Park ranger acted quickly to rescue a boy clinging to a rock in the middle of the cold, high-running Popo Agie River last Thursday, according to a release by the state parks department.

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

On scene, Porter requested swift water rescue assistance and EMS support, but decided to act on his own due to the boy’s declining strength in the extreme conditions. He threw a rope to the boy and was able to pull him through the rapids and back to shore. 

The boy was then rushed to medical treatment in the ranger’s truck. Wyoming Game and Fish Warden Zack Burnhart wrapped the boy in blankets along the way. A short time later, an ambulance crew arrived and took over care for the boy, who was transported to Sage West Hospital in Lander and treated for hypothermia.

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