Search team rescues woman from mountainside

SNOW CANYON STATE PARK — Search and rescue personnel were called into action Wednesday when a female hiker scrambled several hundred feet up a steep mountainside and fell, fracturing her lower leg.

The rescue took place approximately a quarter mile east from the north entrance to Snow Canyon State Park on state Route 18.

The high-angle rescue team (top-center) attend to a hiker with a broken ankle in St. George, Utah, Wednesday, May 18, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News
The high-angle rescue team (top-center) attend to a hiker with a broken ankle near Snow Canyon State Park, Utah, Wednesday, May 18, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

The woman was part of a hiking party headed to the top of the nearby cinder cone. When the group set out the woman remained behind to take a phone call, hiker Bennie Webb said. The group stopped multiple times to allow the woman to catch up, but when she did not rejoin them they assumed she had decided not to take part in the hike.

It wasn’t until the group was returning to their cars when they ran into rescue personnel and realized the woman had taken a different route and gotten hurt.

“I ran back up to see if I could help them, but they’ve got their own organization up there to get her off,” Webb said.

The initial call for help came in a little after 10 a.m., Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Liaison Darrell Cashin said. GPS coordinates from the woman’s phone helped rescuers get a precise bearing on her location.

While the rescue team assembled, Cashin and two paramedics from Gold Cross Ambulance hiked in to locate the injured hiker. She was found near the top of the peak, conscious but with what appeared to be a fracture on her ankle.

Search and Rescue volunteers rescued a hiker with a broken ankle in St. George, Utah, Wednesday, May 18, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News
Search and Rescue volunteers rescued a hiker with a broken ankle near Snow Canyon State Park, Utah, Wednesday, May 18, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

The woman was found in steep, rugged terrain several hundred feet above the valley floor.

“So basically we stabilized her, treated her, waited for the high angle team to arrive,” Cashin said. “They hiked in, set up a lowering system. We put the victim in a Stokes (rescue litter) and then we lowered her down off the mountain, which took quite a bit of time, quite a bit of manpower.”

Rescuers lowered the woman over several steep faces, including one vertical section near the bottom, utilizing 600 feet of rope.

Once the woman was at the base of the mountain, rescuers carried her over slickrock and through dense brush to a waiting Jeep. From there, she was driven to the highway and loaded into an ambulance and taken to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George.

Approximately 13 search and rescue personnel took part in the rescue, Cashin said. Washington County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, Gold Cross Ambulance and Dammeron Valley Rescue were all involved in getting the woman safely off the mountain.

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Email: dgilman@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • knobe May 19, 2016 at 8:31 am

    There seems to be an ever increasing number of suburbanites
    Who over estimate their abilities & need rescue .

    I suspect Search & Rescue will be a greatly expanding business in years to come .
    More people growing up in front of TV , less able to navigate the outdoors .
    More teams needed to retrieve them .

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