Teen rescues and resuscitates friend caught in the Cascades on Independence Pass, credits CPR training
Recent high school graduates Sawyer McKenney and Caden Howe, along with 12-year-old Colt Sutherlin are Roaring Fork Valley locals.
McKenney, 17, and Howe, 18, have been friends since they were in ninth grade and played rugby together at Glenwood Springs High School.
On June 18, the trio narrowly escaped tragedy at the Cascades, a beautiful and sometimes deadly series of waterfalls at the Grottos Day Use Area, where ice-cold water in the Roaring Fork River flows over slick rock.
After Howe resuscitated McKenney, they walked back to the parking lot of the Grottos Day Use Area to meet first responders.
Firefighters with the Aspen Fire Protection District provided aid to the boys and then McKenney was transported to Aspen Valley Hospital.
Responding firefighters said credit for the save goes to Howe, who provided lifesaving CPR to his friend before they arrived.
McKenney has recovered and is now attending college at University of Texas at Austin.
Officials at AFPD honored Howe and Sutherlin at the downtown Aspen fire station last month.
The department is now developing CPR and Stop the Bleed training for age-appropriate school students so that more kids can be equipped for similar situations.