MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- The Montrose County Sheriff's Department has confirmed that Robert McLeroy of Nucla has been reunited with family after he was rescued by his grandson alongside the San Miguel River off of Highway 141.
Ethan Archer, McLeroy's grandson, was apart of the search party that has been working tirelessly for the last days to find Robert McLeroy, 82, of Nucla, Colorado.
On Thursday morning, Ethan was searching by kayak on the San Miguel River off of Highway 141 when he spotted his grandpa lying inverted on the riverbank next to the red Ford Taurus that his grandpa had been driving.
Ethan immediately notified his father who was searching above the river, who then notified authorities.
San Miguel Undersheriff Eric Berg was the first officer to arrive on the scene, who is a certified paramedic and has extensive experience in search and rescue. Along with other officers, they cut a path through the thick vegetation and trees and then used ropes and pulleys to access and safely extract McLeroy from the scene.
From there, McLeroy was transported by a Classic Air Medical helicopter to St. Mary's for medical evaluation.
"This is a true miracle," says Lieutenant 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."
Authorities believe McLeroy attempted to get out of the vehicle by climbing the steep cliff off of the highway, but fell and was left inverted on the river bank for several days.
"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," says Investigator Travis Thompson.
At this time McLeroy's condition is not known, but we will continue to update the public when we have more information.
McLeroy was first reported missing on Monday, September 2.