ABIQUIU LAKE, N.M. – Park rangers rescued a man at the lake, saving him from drowning, July 30, 2016.
While on patrol, ranger Austin Kuhlman noticed a group of about 20 teens. Some of them were jumping off the rocks south of the boat ramp in the Cerrito recreation area. Kuhlman advised the group that they were not allowed to jump from the rocks and explained the safety risks.
As Kuhlman walked away, JP Pruit, 19, jumped into the water and immediately began having trouble swimming. He began to panic. Kuhlman called for assistance from rangers Nathaniel Naranjo and Daniel Archuleta who were on the patrol boat in the lake. Then Kuhlman retrieved a life ring from a nearby life ring station and was able to toss it to Pruit, who was able to use it to keep himself afloat.
Naranjo and Archuleta arrived on scene quickly. Naranjo maneuvered the boat while Archuleta pulled Pruit aboard. Ranger Leigh Ann Kirkeeide met the patrol boat at the dock and assisted in docking the boat and evaluating Pruit. Pruit was alert and declined further medical treatment.
District Commander Lt. Col. James Booth presented the four rangers with commander’s coins for their work in rescuing Pruit, Aug. 12, 2016.
John Mueller, Abiquiu Dam park manager, said the rescue was the result of teamwork. He said District Operations staff led “the initiative to provide the life ring stations.” The maintenance staff at Abiquiu fabricated the “rock bases on the stations for use and placement in our recreation areas,” and the park rangers provided “a quick reaction utilizing the life ring and a coordinated response. It is truly great to see this teamwork make a difference for the safety of our visitors.”