An 82-year-old man who was last seen on Monday, Sept. 2, was found alive Thursday morning, Sept. 5, by his grandson along a river near his crashed car, according to the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office (MSCO).
Robert McLeroy of Nucla, Colorado, was last seen around 10:30 a.m. on Monday leaving town for Grand Junction.
After McLeroy was reported missing, the MCSO and with the help of helicopter crews and others, started searching all the routes leading to Grand Junction.
On Thursday, a large search party, which included Montrose County Sheriff’s Posse members and volunteers, started searching the area around Highway 141 on foot, kayak, and by vehicle.
McLeroy’s grandson, Ethan Archer was searching from the San Miguel River in a kayak, while his father Ivan was following above on the highway in a vehicle, the sheriff’s office said.
Ethan found McLeroy on the river bank. The red Ford Taurus that McLeroy had been driving was nearby with its nose in the river.
Ethan immediately notified his father, who then alerted law enforcement.
A San Miguel undersheriff, a lieutenant and search party members cut several trees to clear a path, then used ropes and pulleys to rescue McLeroy safely.
It is believed that McLeroy had tried to get out of the car by climbing the steep cliff to the highway, but fell.
“This is a true miracle,” said Lt. William McClellan, who organized today’s search efforts. “Mr. McLeroy is a beloved member of the west end community, and on behalf of the MCSO, I am proud to be able to safely reunite him with his family. I want to recognize the volunteers, deputies, Montrose County Road and Bridge, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado State Patrol, San Miguel County Undersheriff Berg, Classic Air Medical, and the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance.”
“This is the best-case scenario—this 82-year-old man persevered and survived 72-hours in hot temperatures—and we could not have accomplished this without the assistance of our partners,” investigator Travis Thompson said.
McLeroy was transported by a Classic Air Medical helicopter to a Grand Junction hospital for medical evaluation.