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Girl, 13, swept away, killed after car crashes into creek

A bear was running across a road that sent a pickup into a creek; she floated several miles down fast-moving water

The Associated Press

BOULDER, Colo. — A crash blamed on a bear running across a road sent a pickup careening into a Colorado creek, causing a young passenger to be swept away to her death, authorities said.

The girl was carried off by the current following the accident that was reported at 4:46 p.m. Saturday in Boulder Canyon, the Boulder County Sheriff's office said.

The 13-year-old girl floated several miles down fast-moving, runoff-swollen Boulder Creek, with rescuers from more than a dozen agencies attempting to reach her at various points, the Daily Camera newspaper reported.

"We were in contact virtually the whole way. We had eyes on her," Lt. Bruce Fenfold of Boulder Fire and Rescue told the paper.

After more than an hour, she was pulled from the water shortly after 6 p.m. and rushed to a hospital, but the sheriff's office said efforts to save her failed.

The Daily Camera reported she had been riding in a pickup truck with her father and sister, who were able to climb out of the water.

"It was later learned by Colorado State Patrol that the crash was caused by a bear running across the road," Sheriff's Cmdr. Steve Cullen said in a news release. "One vehicle stopped suddenly to avoid the bear and was rear ended by the victim vehicle, which then went into the creek."

Boulder Fire and Rescue diver Brad Lupher told the paper that she was not breathing when pulled from the water. Crews performed CPR.

No names were released. The office said the coroner will determine the cause of death.

The paper said that circumstances surrounding the rescue were made extremely difficult by the unusually high rate at which Boulder Creek has been flowing. Just two days prior to this incident, tubing had been banned on parts of the creek, as water was flowing as much as eight times the typical rate.

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