TOPEKA, Kan. As a nationwide television audience monitored his progress, a Topeka man who injured an ankle while hiking Clear Creek Canyon near Golden, Colo., was rescued from the side of a mountain Tuesday morning following an overnight ordeal.
Rescuers lowered David Seals, 34, more than 600 feet down a mountain at about 9:30 a.m.
The rescue closed US-6 highway for several hours Tuesday morning from Colorado 93 to Colorado 119, according to the Rocky Mountain News.
Seals’ mother, Shirley Seals, of Topeka, said another son, Robert Seals, who also was on the hike, told her over the phone that in addition to David’s ankle injury, he had hypothermia and was given fluids through an IV.
Seals said her sons went to Colorado to see an aquarium and decided to take a hike on one of the canyon’s walking trails. She said she was surprised to see pictures of the canyon because “it didn’t look like a walking trail.”
She and her husband were unaware that their sons were in Colorado until they found out about the incident early Tuesday.
“They are planning to stay with a friend tonight and come back tomorrow,” Shirley Seals said.
The rescue generated widespread news, being featured on CNN.
Seals began his hike early Monday afternoon with his brother Robert, 32, and Eurich Garcia, a friend. They had made it to the top of the mountain and were making their way back down when Seals injured his ankle at about 6:15 p.m., said Jacki Kelley, public information director for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado.
Garcia late Tuesday told The Topeka Capital-Journal the hike should have lasted four hours. Instead, David Seals jumped off granite and injured an ankle, leading to trouble.
“It wasn’t scary,” Garcia said. “You just kind of realized you’re not as big as what you think.”
Kelley said Seals continued to walk for nearly four hours before his injury kept him from going any farther.
His brother and friend left him with a few supplies before climbing out of the canyon to call for help from an emergency phone at about 1:30 a.m.
Rescuers arrived at about 2 a.m. but met challenges in reaching Seals and getting him off the mountain due to steep, rocky terrain and rainy weather, which made the area slick.
“The quickest way to get him down was very steep,” Kelley said.
Kelley said Seals was alert and sitting up once rescuers got him to safety. He was taken to St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver, where he was treated and released Tuesday.