VEYO – An 82-year-old man who rolled his vehicle near Veyo Friday night is in good condition following a joint effort by Washington County Search and Rescue and Life Flight.
Around 4 p.m. Friday, the man rolled his jeep somewhere west of Veyo and called some friends to let them know what happened. Apparently uninjured, he told his friends he was walking away from the accident and gave them some directions to where they might find him, Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Darrell Cashin said.
Though his friends were able to keep in contact with him through his cellphone, they couldn’t locate him after a few hours of searching. The authorities were then contacted and a Search and Rescue ground team was dispatched to the general area, Cashin said.
The search and rescue operation began around 6:30 p.m. with about nine volunteers looking for the man.
Emphasis was placed on finding the elderly man as soon as possible because he was out in the cold without a coat, without food and water and has some preexisting medical conditions. There was a major worry he could develop hypothermia, Cashin said.
After two more hours of fruitless searching, the man was contacted via phone and told to call 911 so searchers could get exact GPS coordinates for his position. It turned out he wasn’t anywhere near a roadway as was hoped.
Worries about the man’s condition rose as the temperature dropped.
“All of us were concerned about exposure,” Cashin said. “It was 34 degrees in Veyo.”
Searchers were able to get close, though they had to hike through rugged terrain for about a half-mile or so to finally reach the man.
“In the meantime, I called and asked Life Flight if they would be willing to fly up there and help us locate and transport this person out,” Cashin said.
Life Flight personnel agreed to help and the medical chopper was launched from Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George. About the time the ground team found the man is when Life Flight arrived in the area.
The ground team gave the man a coat and and performed a medical check, Cashin said. Surprisingly, the man was faring quite well despite being in the cold without a coat for more than four hours, he said.
Members of Search and Rescue helped walk the man out of the area where he had been found and took him to the landing zone Life Flight had established. The Life Flight medics did their own medical check of the man and cleared him. Not wanting to go to the hospital, the man was flown to where incident command had been set up in Veyo and released to waiting friends.
“I want to express my appreciation to Life Flight for coming up there and assisting on this and bringing that gentleman out,” Cashin said. “If they had not, we would have been there an additional two hours just getting him out.”
The operation — Washington County Search and Rescue team’s 101st operation for the year — wrapped up around 11:30 p.m, Friday night.
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