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New York State Park Police

Off-duty New York police officer saves kayaker in Moab

By Lauren Bennett, | Posted - Jun 20th, 2019 @ 7:40am

MOAB — For some police officers, there's no such thing as being off-duty. That was the case for New York State Park police officer Bryan Welcher, a 16-year veteran of the division, when he and his friends were on a rafting trip on the Colorado River, north of Moab.

On June 6, Welcher and his friends were in Class III rapids around 5 p.m. when Welcher saw a kayaker capsize upriver and become unconscious, New York State Park police said in a statement via Facebook.

Welcher and his friends tried to intercept the kayaker and get him before he floated past them, the release said.

The man was in the near 40 degrees water for about 15 minutes and regained consciousness as he was lifted into the boat by Welcher and his friends.

The kayaker was blue, didn't know his name or what happened and was vomiting, according to the post.

Welcher's friend called 911 on the river and told dispatch they were taking the Rocky Rapid takeout. The crew successfully finished the remaining section of the rapid with the man on board and arrived at the Rocky Rapid takeout.

About a half hour later, Grand County Sheriff deputies arrived with an ambulance. The kayaker was taken to an urgent care in Moab and treated for exposure, the post states.

According to the post, Welcher's actions saved the man's life.

Lauren Bennett

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