Rescuers searching for 2 lost hikers end up returning with 4 hikers near Red Mountain Trail

Stock photo, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Rescuers searching for two hikers Thursday evening ended up returning with a total of four lost hikers when two others asked them for help near the Red Mountain Trail.

Just before 5 p.m., a call came into the St. George Communications Center from a woman reporting herself and a friend as being lost near Red Mountain Trail, just off of state Route 18 near Dammeron Valley.

Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Darrell Cashin said that dispatch received the GPS coordinates from the cell phone the woman used to call and relayed those coordinates to Washington County Deputies responding to the call. Deputies were joined by 11 members of the Washington County Search and Rescue team, along with an officer from the Bureau of Land Management who assisted with the search.

Cashin said that rescuers began searching in the area surrounding Red Mountain Trail near the Snow Canyon Overlook in groups of two. ATVs were also brought in to navigate the difficult terrain.

The two women, both in their 50s, were located just before dark and were given water and jackets to keep them warm. They told rescuers they became lost while returning from the Snow Canyon Overlook and were unable to find the trail, at which point one of the women called 911.

“These ladies did exactly what they were supposed to do,” Cashin said. “They called in as soon as they were lost, giving rescuers enough daylight to find them. … Then, they stayed put after the call, enabling rescuers to find them quickly using the GPS coordinates sent during their call to 911.”

Once the two women were located, the group started back to the parking lot near the Red Mountain trailhead. Along the way, they came upon two more hikers, an 18-year-old man and 17-year-old girl, who approached the rescuers asking for help.

Cashin said the two were found without any light source, warm clothing or water.

The rescue was completed by 8 p.m. as the entire group returned to the base of Red Mountain Trail safely.

Cashin said the West Side Ground Team, which also assisted in the rescue, was actually scheduled for training when the call came in, so instead of their formal training, they participated in a rescue. During the search, Cashin also requested the team’s Razor ATV, which is equipped with a stokes basket, backboard and medical supplies in case there were injuries. Cashin said the ATV will be kept on standby for the upcoming holiday weekend.

With the predicted increase in holiday traffic to Snow Canyon, Cashin said he wanted to remind people that it’s important to remember that it gets very cold once the sun goes down, regardless of how warm it feels during daylight hours. Another danger for hikers is dehydration, even when the weather is mild and actually exacerbated by the cold. The body loses water during the hiking and then loses even more through shivering as the cold sets in. Couple that with an extended or delayed search, and a hiker can become dangerously dehydrated before he or she is found. Even worse, it can be fatal.

Cashin suggested that before participating in any hike or outdoor activity, it is important to be prepared for the worst. Pack items that might be needed in case of an emergency, including:

  • A light source. Cashin says not to rely on a cell phone for light; it is better to save the battery to call for help.
  • Extra bottles of water
  • Healthy snacks
  • Fully charged cell phone
  • Jacket

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

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Twitter: @STGnews

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

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