2 west desert rescues: FedEx truck stuck; stranded father, son

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WASHINGTON COUNTY – The Washington County Search and Rescue team responded to two rescue calls Thursday evening on the west side of Washington County, bringing this unprecedented year of high-volume rescues to either 52 or 53 so far.

“To be honest, I’m losing track,” Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Darrell Cashin said.

At about 6:15 p.m. Thursday, Cashin said, he was teaching an emergency medical responder class when he received a call from dispatch regarding a father and his 8-year-old son who had gone backpacking out in the west desert of Washington County, near the Nevada border. The father twisted his knee during the trek and was unable to keep walking, and the two ran out of water.

The man’s wife became concerned about the pair because they weren’t where they were supposed to be, Cashin said. She called 911 and then got in contact with her husband and told him to call 911, so the dispatcher could get his GPS coordinates. Once the coordinates were obtained, the SAR team was called out.

Read more: Search, rescue … how to hike safely, how to be found

Cashin had to leave the EMS class and also pull some of his team members out of the class. He deployed SAR’s west side ground team, and he and the group headed out.

About 10 minutes after the SAR page went out and the team was en route to render aid to the father and son, a second search and rescue call came in. This time, a FedEx driver was in need of help after her delivery vehicle became stuck in the sand on Indian Springs Road, which is also located in the west desert of Washington County.

The FedEx driver had hiked away from her stuck truck and walked north, Cashin said. She ended up about an hour away from her vehicle and got low on water.

After becoming stuck, the FedEx driver called her employers for help, Cashin said, and they, in turn, called 911. FedEx then sent a van out to look for the driver.

Cashin said he doesn’t know why the delivery driver was in such a remote area.

“I guess FedEx goes everywhere,” he said, jokingly. “I don’t know what she was delivering.”

He then split up his team and sent a Washington County Sheriff’s deputy and three search and rescue volunteers to respond to the FedEx call, Cashin said, while he and the other team members continued on to help the father and son.

“Dispatch had talked to (the FedEx driver), and we told her to stay there,” Cashin said.

After a while, though, the woman started walking back toward the place where she’d left her delivery vehicle.

The FedEx vehicle that had been sent out to help the driver located her just shortly before the deputy and search and rescue volunteers did.

Cashin said the search and rescue team didn’t pull out the stuck truck, so he’s not sure what happened to the vehicle but assumes FedEx took care of retrieving it.

With the FedEx driver in good hands and safely in the care of someone from her company, the deputy and three search and rescue volunteers diverted back to the original rescue call.

“I had them respond to where we were at,” Cashin said.

The rescue effort for the father and son wasn’t far from where the FedEx driver had become stuck in the sand.

At the other rescue site, search and rescue responders could see the father and son up on a ridgeline, Cashin said, but they were having a difficult time figuring out how to reach them.

It took about 30 minutes to figure out the right route, he said. Two SAR responders then drove out on the ridgeline in a jeep and then traveled cross-country to reach the two, as there wasn’t a road. They brought back the father and son, and then Cashin drove the two back to St. George in his own truck.

“They denied needing medical (treatment), so I shuttled them back into St. George,” Cashin said.

The rescue mission wrapped up about 10:30 p.m., just over four hours after the responders had been paged out.

Continuing a record year, the Washington County Search and Rescue team has already surpassed its 2014 rescue numbers, and 2015 isn’t even at its midpoint yet. The team is just entering what has historically been its busiest time of year, Cashin said.

I keep on saying I hope it will slow down, but it just doesn’t,” he said. “Every time I say that, we get another call out. I need to quit saying it.”

The Washington County Search and Rescue team is comprised of volunteers who use their own equipment to perform rescue missions under the direction of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Team members are not paid for their service.


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1 Comment

  • DB May 31, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Were the already overworked volunteers really needed to guide the folks in the FedEx truck to safety or was it simply a case of being in the right place at the right time?

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