Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time! This couple can thank their lucky Land Rover for surviving this one!
John Livingston, director of fishing at the Roaring Fork Club in Colorado, was headed up the valley with two clients, when suddenly he witnessed it happen right behind him in his rear view mirror. He told his passengers, “A boulder just took out a vehicle.”
It was like watching a movie, he said.
An El Jebel, Colorado couple considered themselves “very lucky” to escape injury Wednesday when a massive boulder tumbled down a gully and knocked their vehicle into the Fryingpan River. Rotten timing, but good luck they were in a Land Rover.
Alyson and Ryan Flemming were headed up the valley shortly after a gully washer rushed through the midvalley at 1:30 p.m. The SUV-sized boulder bashed the front left quarter panel of their Land Rover Discovery and forced the vehicle off a steep embankment on the right side of the road.
The Land Rover, having been shoved off the road by the massive stone, then took a wild ride about 30 feet down a cliff to the water, somehow managing to stay upright the entire time.
The Flemmings said the incident happened so fast they didn't really have time to consider what was happening. Ryan, who was driving, said the boulder was on them so fast he didn't have time to react. It left a huge gouge in the right lane of the road.
Alyson said she didn't remember screaming or shouting while they were tumbling down to the river. “I just think I started breathing heavily and Ryan said, ‘We're OK, we're OK, we're OK.'”
While dealing with the shock of getting hit, they also had to assess if the river water posed a threat. “That was the scariest part of it,” Alyson said. She called 911 while Ryan forced the back door open against some tree limbs. They climbed out the back with their dog, Millie. They escaped with scrapes and bruises.
While the couple were composed and able to recount the incident, they also knew they were fortunate it didn't turn out worse. It was, as the saying goes, just a matter of inches.
“We were so lucky,” Alyson said.
The boulder came to rest a few feet away from the Land Rover in the river.
Meanwhile, John Livingston quickly parked his vehicle a short distance away and ran back to the scene in his wader boots. “I expected to find them upside down in the river,” Livingston said. He was relieved to find them upright.
Livingston said the lower valley looked like a “war zone.” It was littered with small hailstones, and water and mud shot across the road from what are usually dry gullies. Mud and small rocks covered several small patches of the road. The Fryingpan River looked like Nestle Quick.
He and his clients decided not to go fishing.
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