No big eclipse problems for FCSOAug 24, 2017 From staff reports
County law enforcement officials said their 72-hour "eclipse emergency operation" proceeded largely as planned, with the exception of a few unusual issues - including one incident in which a man jumped off of a 200-foot cliff into a reclaimed uranium mine.
The Colorado man was transported by air ambulance to the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper, according to reports, which indicate he leapt into the abandoned uranium pit at about 3:15 p.m. Sunday on Dry Creek Road near the Gas Hills east of Riverton.
"He was observed by a witness intentionally running and plummeting off the face of the uranium pit," undersheriff Ryan Lee said in a press release Monday.
The reporting party said the man hat hit a rock and landed in the reclaimed pit, which was full of water.
Riverton search and rescue volunteers responded to the scene, launching a watercraft to retrieve the subject.
"We had a fast response and were able to develop a quick rescue plan that was executed without delay, thus saving the man's life," Lee said in an e-mail Tuesday.
He did not know the extent of the man's injuries, according to Monday's press release.
Lee also wasn't certain why the man had jumped off of the cliff.
Deputies did experience "occasional communications concerns" throughout the weekend, Lee said. The issue had been anticipated: Last week Fremont County Sheriff Skip Hornecker said officials might need to revert to their old communications systems, as cell service and Wyolink -- the modern dispatch system -- might be unreliable with so many people in the area for the eclipse.
Lee said the issue arose Sunday in the Dubois area, requiring officials to identify and correct the problem at a remote mountain tower.
Deputies also experienced some mechanical issues with three patrol units Sunday, Lee said; the vehicles were quickly repaired and put back into the fleet rotation.
On Monday deputies responded to reports that a backpack had been left at Dubois Town Park.
"After investigation and inspection by a bomb canine unit it was determined the backpack was not a safety issue," Lee said in a press release.
The owner of the backpack was located at a local motel, Lee continued. When the man arrived at the park, he explained that he had accidentally left his backpack there, and he was able to describe the contents of the backpack, which held camera equipment.
"This was confirmed, and the man left with his property," Lee said.
Otherwise, he said, "very little" law enforcement intervention was required over the weekend. Instead, officials spent their time providing safety information and directions and helping stranded motorists.
"Deputies talked to persons from all over the world, answered many questions, gave out directions, and basically did the same job they do day in and day out," Lee said. "Our entire operation went smooth, as did the event itself."
They expected "many more" issues with fires and injuries due to the increase in population, he said, but those "thankfully did not occur."
"Deputies were visiting with camps and letting them know of the fire danger and current ban," Lee said. "I think this helped stop prairie fires before they started."
Overall, he said his deputies experienced "very cordial, respectful and responsible visitors."
"The only other unusual occurrence was that of field units reporting that the sun had somehow disappeared for about two minutes in all areas of the county," Lee said.