Man airlifted to DRMC after 40-foot fall in Johnson Canyon

Washington County Search and Rescue team retrieves an injured man in Johnson Canyon, Snow Canyon State Park, Utah, March 11, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Search and Rescue, St. George News

IVINS — A man was airlifted by Life Flight to Dixie Regional Medical Center after losing his balance and falling 40 feet while canyoneering in Johnson Canyon at Snow Canyon State Park.

At 11:40 a.m., Washington County Search and Rescue crews were dispatched to Snow Canyon State Park, where five people had been repelling when a 58-year-old Washington County man lost his balance and fell approximately 40 feet, Washington County Sheriff’s deputy Darrell Cashin said.

Washington County Search and Rescue rescue a man in Snow Canyon State Park, Ivins, Utah, March 11, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Search and Rescue, St. George News
Washington County Search and Rescue team retrieve an injured man in Snow Canyon State Park, Utah, March 11, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Search and Rescue, St. George News

Washington County Search and Rescue’s high angle ropes team and ground team both responded to the accident, Cashin said.

Within Johnson Canyon are a series of six rappels, SAR Commander Mike Thomas said, and the the group was at the 5th rappel when the man fell. The high angle ropes team was able to reach the group from above, while the grounds team came in from below with a rescue basket.

No other members of the group were injured, but were helped out safely with search and rescue crews.

Emergency responders from Ivins Fire and Rescue and Santa Clara Fire Department provided medical attention to the man, who was complaining of back and chest pain, Cashin said. His injuries were not visibly critical and did not appear to be life threatening.

“He was in a lot of pain,” he said. “They took him down just out of the canyon where Life Flight took him to the hospital.”

Washington County Search and Rescue rescue a man in Snow Canyon State Park, Ivins, Utah, March 11, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Search and Rescue, St. George News
Washington County Search and Rescue crew retrieves an injured man in Snow Canyon State Park, Utah, March 11, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Search and Rescue, St. George News

The rescue was complete by 5 p.m., and Cashin said the rescue team worked to ensure the rescue was performed safely and efficiently. He said as a volunteer team, he is grateful to the members of the rescue team that came in on two rescues that occurred that day.

“ They left their jobs to come do this two times in one day,” he said. “I’m very proud. We have an excellent rescue team.”

Thomas and Cashin warned that while people are out in nature they should be aware of their surroundings and watch their footing to keep from falling and getting hurt.

Cashin said the rappelling group did the right thing by calling for help. Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Washington County Search and Rescue, Ivins Fire and Rescue, Santa Clara Fire Department responded to the accident.

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