Rescuers aid 5 hikers stranded overnight in Red Cliffs Recreation Area

WASHINGTON COUNTY — The Washington County Search and Rescue team came to the aid of five people Wednesday who became stranded in the Red Cliffs Recreation Area during a late-night hike.

Washington County Search and Rescue help stranded hikers in the Red Cliffs Recreation Area, March 26, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Search and Rescue, St. George News
The Washington County Search and Rescue team helps stranded hikers in the Red Cliffs Recreation Area, northeast of St. George, Utah March 26, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Search and Rescue, St. George News

Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Darrell Cashin said the call came in  at 8 a.m. Thursday to help the hikers — three men and two women in their 20s who, after hiking until 11 p.m., became stranded about a quarter of a mile from the parking lot in the Red Cliffs Recreation Area.

“They kept hiking and got to a spot where they became ledged up and spent the night out there,” Cashin said. “It was about 8 a.m. when they realized they needed help.”

Washington County Search and Rescue Commander Mike Thomas said the group, who were not from the area, had gone up a ledge and tried unsuccessfully to take a shortcut to get back down in the dark.

Washington County Search and Rescue help stranded hikers in the Red Cliffs Recreation Area, March 26, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Search and Rescue, St. George News
The Washington County Search and Rescue team helps stranded hikers in the Red Cliffs Recreation Area, northeast of St. George, Utah, March 26, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Search and Rescue, St. George News

Thomas said the hikers tried to make their way down when the sun came up but were again unsuccessful, which prompted them to call for help.

“They were not prepared to stay the night,” Cashin said. “ They got cold, had no jackets and ran out of water about 2 a.m.”

The search and rescue high-angle team was able to come from above to reach hikers, making two short rappels to get to them, Thomas said. The team was able to rappel the hikers down the 300-foot cliff one by one.

One woman was dehydrated and attended to by medical personnel, while a man had a bruised knee but did not need medical attention.

The members of the group were from both northern Utah and England, Cashin said. Because of their unfamiliarity with the area and also being unprepared when departing on their hike, they were in need of a rescue.

Cashin encouraged hikers to become familiar with the area before departing on a hike and to be prepared in case they are out later than expected.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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