German adventurer falls 15 feet after getting lost on hike near Tuacahn

Rescue crews help guide a lost hiker to safety, Washington County, Utah, July 25, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff's Search and Rescue, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A man was brought to safety by rescue crews after he got lost and slipped next to a cliff while hiking east of Tuacahn Center for the Arts Wednesday afternoon.

Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue were dispatched to a rugged area between Snow Canyon State Park and Tuacahn at approximately 1:35 p.m. after the 23-year-old hiker called 911 for help.

The area in which a hiker became lost in rough terrain near Tuacahn Center for the Arts, Washington County, Utah, July 25, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, St. George News

The man had gone off trail during a hike through the area and got lost in a section of cliffs, Washington County Sheriff’s Sgt. Darrell Cashin said.

While trying to find his way down, he slipped and fell down a 15-foot slope. During his tumble, he hit his head and suffered cuts and bruises.

Cashin said the man, a German tourist who didn’t have any experience in the area, realized he wouldn’t be able to get out of his predicament on his own and called emergency services.

“He obviously didn’t know the area and didn’t understand the heat we deal with, either,” Cashin said, adding that he did the right thing by staying put and calling for help at that point, as another tumble could have sent him down a 300-400-foot cliff.

Crews were slightly delayed in pinpointing the man’s location because the GPS coordinates they received were off by about 3-4 miles.

“Sometimes we can’t pick up on the signal because cell service is poor or the government might be doing some testing out in Nevada, which will throw off the GPS,” Cashin said.

Acting instead on the man’s description of the area, responders eventually observed the lost hiker among the cliffs east of Tuacahn.

A crew member at the scene of a rescue operation near Tuacahn Center for the Arts in Washington County, Utah, July 25, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, St. George News

Before heading out, crews flew a drone with a water bottle attached to it to his location.

“We’ve been getting into using drones more for spotting people, helping track and also carrying in a bottle of water or a radio,” Cashin said.

Crews then split up into two teams and worked toward the man’s direction. Some technical climbing was required, but they soon found a route down from the area that wouldn’t require the hiker to do any climbing.

The man may have suffered from minor heat exhaustion, Cashin said, so he was provided with some additional hydration before the rescuers slowly guided him out of the area on foot.

After his safe descent, the hiker was evaluated by an ambulance crew from Santa Clara-Ivins Fire and Rescue and later went to the hospital to have a laceration dressed.

Cashin said the hiker flew from Germany to Cuba to Mexico and had just arrived in Utah from Mexico a couple days ago.

“He’s just traveling around these countries having a nice adventure by himself,” Cashin said.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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3 Comments

  • Craig July 27, 2018 at 10:52 am

    How do you get the title “adventurer?” Is that a step up from tourist?

  • Carpe Diem July 27, 2018 at 11:36 am

    He wandered through the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid movie on the way here. Watched it last night – most of the sets in Grafton, Snow Canyon, Paiute IR, kolob, until they do the river jump.

  • PlanetU July 27, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    Why wouldn’t a 23 yr. old have access to a weather report on his phone? This is just dumb. I am fascinated by the drone delivering water to him tho.

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