Kane County rescuers find woman missing since Thursday

Karen Klein was found near North Rim, Ariz., after she went missing Thursday while trying to find help after being stranded with husband and son, North Rim, Arizona, date unknown | Photo courtesy of the Coconino County Sheriff's Office, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A 47-year-old Pennsylvania woman was found Saturday in a guard shack near the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park by rescuers after she was last seen going for help near DeMotte Park Thursday. The missing woman’s husband and 10-year-old son were found Friday.

The woman, Karen Klein, was suffering from exposure when a Kane County Search and Rescue team located her in the guard shack that had been closed for the season, Kane County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Alan Alldredge said. She was conscious and communicating as she was treated at the scene. Klein was then transported to Kane County Hospital in Kanab and is expected to be transferred to Dixie Regional Medical Center later Saturday, according to a statement released by the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office.

“That woman was more than 26 miles from where she first got out of the car,” Alldredge said, “which is an incredible distance to walk, particularly in the snow.”

Klein’s husband, Eric Klein, and 10-year-old son were located Friday in their vehicle after Eric Klein was able to hike to a road where he found cell service and called for help. Both father and son were located by a ranger with the Bureau of Land Management a short time later.

From there deputies from the Kane County Sheriff’s Office drove them to a waiting ambulance that transported the pair to Kane County Hospital in Kanab where they were treated for exposure and related injuries.

The pair was released from the hospital and staying in a nearby motel when they received word that Karen Klein had been located and returned to the facility.

“It’s a miracle,” Alldredge said, “and it’s not necessarily the outcome we expected, but were certainly hoping for.”

Events started to unfold on Thursday when the family visiting from Pennsylvania rented a car in Las Vegas to make the trek through Southern Utah to visit the Grand Canyon. The GPS in their vehicle routed them initially to the North Rim, which is closed this time of year, the statement said, and then the system redirected the family through forest service roads, where the vehicle became disabled after the area received heavy snowfall.

Klein left the vehicle and attempted to hike to state Route 67 to get help; however, just after the woman left the weather became worse with heavy snowfall, and the woman became lost.

By Friday afternoon Eric Klein made additional attempts to get help after his wife had not yet returned, ultimately climbing to a higher elevation where he was able to use his cell phone and call for help. He then returned to the vehicle where his son was waiting, Alldredge said.

Deputies from the Kane County Sheriff’s Office and a ranger from the BLM responded and found the pair who were taken to an ambulance and transported to the hospital. Eric Klein reported his wife missing at that time.

A team of  Coconino County Sheriff Search and Rescue members were assembled, as well as rescuers from Kane County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, who then began searching for the missing woman. Kane County searchers set out on snowmobiles where they located what appeared to be remnants of tracks, which they followed along Forest Road 22. At the same time searchers from the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office responded on snow machines from SR-67.

Classic Air Medical was also contacted and dispatched to the search area, Alldredge said, but were unable to provide air support due to the inclement weather. Later in the evening the weather improved, which allowed Classic Air to searched from the helicopter, but after a short while the weather worsened and the crew was forced to terminate the air search, the chief deputy said.

Rescuers from both counties continued to search for the missing woman until just after midnight, when she was found in the guard shack located off of the road near the toll booth at the entrance to the North Rim.

Rescuers then lit a fire to help warm the woman up as Coconino County Sheriff Search and Rescue members made their way to the guard shack to assist, along with a snowplow and a Chevrolet Suburban outfitted with mat tracks to assist in transport.

After the woman was loaded safely the team made the three-hour trek to DeMotte Park, where she was transported to the hospital. The teams were also assisted by rangers from the National Park Service and the BLM, as well as members of the Arizona Department of Transportation and Kane County Ambulance.

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

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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

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4 Comments

  • .... December 24, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    This is absolutely fantastic news and I’m sure this will result in a positive reaction from the community and I would like to thank all those involved in making this rescue possible. .our hero’s from SAR have showed the professionalism once again. ! Praise the lord

  • r2d2 December 25, 2016 at 12:48 am

    A true Christmas miracle. 26 miles unbelievable.

  • Real Life December 26, 2016 at 6:15 am

    Glad they are ok, but what the hell were they thinking?

  • anybody home December 26, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    Hard to know what to say about people like this. Visit the Grand Canyon in the middle of winter? Don’t do any research? Ye gods, people, how stupid can you be? Did you not notice that nobody else was visiting the Grand Canyon that day?

    I’m glad they’re safely out, but this is really inexcusable – and a waste of the resources required to get your sorry a$$es out and safe.

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