ST. GEORGE – A Florida man was rescued Thursday near Kolob Reservoir after getting stuck three days earlier and camping out until he ran out of food. On their way to help the man, rescuers also came across another vehicle stuck in the snow.
Washington County Search and Rescue volunteers responded to a call of a stranded camper Thursday afternoon. The man was located on the north side of Kolob Reservoir, Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Darrell Cashin said, and had been there for three or four days.
“He apparently had gone up there prior to the storm, even then he had gotten his truck stuck,” Cashin said, “and then of course (the storm) came in and snowed on him more.”
The man ended up camping out with his dog until he ran out of food, Cashin said. Thursday, he walked to the other side of the reservoir with his dog and ran into an elderly gentleman who is a resident in the area. The resident had gotten to the reservoir on a side-by-side with tracks rather than wheels and was able to call for help.
Six search and rescue volunteers responded and located the man on the back side of Kolob Reservoir. They pulled his vehicle out and escorted him all the way off of the mountain.
“He was fine, he just said he was out of food. He had no cell service and had no way of calling anybody. And he was not from here,” Cashin said.
The man was from Jacksonville, Florida, and it’s not known if he was trying to travel over the mountain to Cedar City. Several motorists have had to be rescued after their GPS devices guided them to take the route which is passable in summer but snow-covered and treacherous in the winter. Kolob Reservoir has an elevation of 8,118 feet and the area gets a substantial amount of snow.
Search and rescue volunteers came across another vehicle stuck in the snow on their way to the stranded camper – a Jeep which was stuck in the snow on the plateau near Kolob. The man was quickly pulled out.
Motorists should avoid the area near Kolob Reservoir and Lava Point in Zion National Park, Cashin said. There is still plenty of snow in the area, with drifts up to 3 feet deep and 6 inches of new snow deposited by the most recent storm.
Washington County Emergency Services offers these tips for traveling:
- Let someone know where you are going, how you will get there and when you expect to return. This applies to all trips, not just those in challenging areas; people have gotten stuck or lost in relatively easy terrain. If you don’t return and can’t call for help, your friends or family will know to contact authorities and where to send rescuers. If you change your plans, let someone know.
- Use the buddy system. Have at least one other vehicle along. This gives you extra manpower and a way to get out if your vehicle gets stuck or breaks down.
- Carry survival gear. Even a short Sunday drive to the mountains can turn bad. Carry enough emergency food, water and other supplies to get you through a cold night or two. Carry first aid supplies to handle medical emergencies. Cell phones are good to have but often don’t work in remote areas.
- Additional safety tips from Washington County Search and Rescue can be found here.
This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.
Ed. note: The yellow Jeep originally identified as being stuck in the snow actually belongs to a search and rescue volunteer.
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