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You may have to pay for your own rescue

9:58 PM, Jan 3, 2014   |    comments
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KUSA - As an ice fisherman, Glen Ventura is always thinking about what could happen, which is why he comes prepared.

"I carry ice picks. If you fall through the ice, you're able to pull yourself out," Ventura said.

The 6 inches of ice he's standing on at Chatfield Reservoir on Friday, is where a team had to rescue a fisherman a couple weeks ago.

Randy Hampton with Colorado Parks and Wildlife says if you have a hunting or fishing license, $0.25 from the license fee goes to a fund that helps pay for rescues. But even with a license it's possible rescuees may need to pay the bill.

"If you're negligent in any way, if you're engaged in an activity that's kind of stupid and you should know better, this doesn't cover you for that," Hampton explains.

However, Howard Paul with Colorado's Search and Rescue Board says individuals will not be charged because the board does not want people to hesitate to call 911, just because they are afraid of paying a bill.

Officials say it's up to the rescue teams or individual sheriffs' offices to charge rescuees. Several people have been charged for various rescues in the past but the Search and Rescue Board says those payments are almost impossible to track.

The board says about 1,380 rescues are performed in Colorado every year. The state says they pay for 125 missions. The rest are paid for by local sheriffs' offices or rescue teams.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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