No such thing as ‘off-duty’: New York state park officer saves kayaker

Southern Utah

MOAB, Utah (ABC4 News) An off-duty New York State Park Police officer is credited with saving a man’s life while was rafting in Utah.

New York State Park Police said on Thursday, June 6 Officer Bryan Welcher was rafting with friends (Joe Carlson and Matt Huette) on the Colorado River just north of Moab when they saw a kayaker capsized upriver from them.

Officer Welcher, a 16-year veteran of division, and his friends jumped into action and rowed across the river to intercept the kayaker before he floated past them.

Photo courtesy: New York State Park Police

Police said the kayaker was in 44-degree water for about 10 to 15 minutes. He regained conscious as Officer Welcher and friend lifted him into their raft.

A friend on the raft called 911 and the group successfully navigated the remaining rapids with the victim on board. About the 30 minutes later Grand County emergency crews arrive to treat the kayaker. He was taken to an urgent care facility in Moab where he was treated for exposure and unknown injuries, police said.

New York State Park Police congratulated Officer Welcher for his off-duty actions and “undoubtedly saving the life of someone in need.”

Officer Welcher is assigned to the Cayuga Lake Station of the Mid-State District Finger Lakes Zone.


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