Hiker rescued from Subway after breaking leg, spending night in cave

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ZION NATIONAL PARK – A hiker injured in Zion National Park Sunday was rescued by helicopter Monday after spending the night in a cave above the Subway.

The man, who is from Utah and estimated to be in his 40s, was hiking with friends when he tripped or fell and heard a bone break in his lower leg, Zion National Park Chief Ranger Cindy Purcell said. The man was unable to walk on his injured leg, but luckily he was with knowledgeable friends.

“He was with a party that was able to get him up out of the drainage into a dry spot … 200 feet from the base where he hurt himself so he could be warm and dry for the night,” Purcell said. “He stayed there with his daughter, I understand she is 19, and another individual of the party. They stayed overnight.”

The rest of the party hiked out and reported the injury to park officials at about 5 p.m. Sunday night. Monday morning, a medic was sent in to locate and stabilize the injured man.

“And then we used our partnership with Grand Canyon (National Park) and they came in with a short-haul ship and were able to send a rescuer down and extract the patient without any incident,” Purcell said. The injured man was already in a wide-open area that allowed the helicopter access.

The injured man was with one of two parties of six who were hiking the Subway Sunday, Purcell said. They knew each other but were taking different routes into the Subway. The two groups met up in the canyon, and the man was injured after that.

The party secured the injured man, basically did the first aid and raised him to an alcove where he could stay dry and warm overnight, Purcell said.

The short-haul helicopter has a line that can be dropped down with a rescuer attached. The rescuer is dropped off at the scene, where he “packages” the patient in a harness or basket; then the helicopter comes back and pulls the rescuer and the injured person up together.

After being lifted by helicopter over to an area near Kolob Terrace Road, the injured man refused an ambulance ride and went to seek medical attention in a private vehicle.

Zion National Park has five medics who have trained with the Grand Canyon short-haul team and can work interchangeably with them, Purcell said.

Email: japplegate@stgnews.com

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