Luc Strickland was simply doing what he always does, but this time it was caught on film. And now, the Colorado river ranger is getting a slice of Internet fame for the amazing save he made inside a dangerous Colorado rapid.
Strickland was posted up at the base of what's known as Gorilla Rapid during one of the world's most dangerous kayak creek races, the Green Race. When kayaker Nick Fielder came through the waterfall, it was clear there was something wrong. But Strickland and his roper, John Abercrombie, hesitated to jump in as many of the more than 200 kayakers in the Green Race struggle at Gorilla rapid.
"There were years where the safety crews were assisting kayakers too soon, and not giving the kayaker enough time to work out the situation without assistance," Strickland told CanoeKayak.com. "It's important to be there for safety but also to let the race happen as naturally as you can without getting anyone hurt. Knowing the right time to intervene is important. It's a fine line that's floating by you rapidly."
In the shocking video, Strickland can be seen wading out into the water before leaping over a floating kayak to grab the "swimmer" and hold onto him as Abercrombie reels them both in.
Fielder, the kayaker, suffered a compression fracture of two lumbar vertebras and his tailbone. He's expected to miss about eight weeks before returning to his kayak.