2 injured climbers rescued near Leeds

WASHINGTON COUNTY — Search and rescue teams who were called out Saturday to help an injured climber located another injured person while en route to the first.

Rescuers lower injured climber down form cliff coming out of the canyon near the Red Cliff Trail Saturday, Washington County, Utah, May 6, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Dina Land, St. George News

At 1 p.m. Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue was called out to the Red Cliff Trail area near Leeds on a report of a climber who was injured when he fell approximately 10 feet while hiking on a 100-foot cliff, Chief Deputy Nate Brooksby said.

The man also complained of an injury to his hip and believed his nose was broken when he called 911.

Search and rescue crews included a ground team, high angle team and a medical team that were dispatched to the area, along with assistance from Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Hurricane Valley Fire District and rangers from the Bureau of Land Management.

Rescuers split into two groups and one group went to the top of the canyon and rappelled down to where the injured hiker was waiting while the second team began at the bottom and made their way up. The ground team was packing medical and rescue supplies.

“So, we are a state licensed EMS unit so the idea there is that we can reach the patient and start treating the patient even before we get them extracted from the area,” Brooksby said.

As the ground team made their way up the canyon, they located a second hiking victim who sustained a knee injury and was unable to make it down on his own.

“So, even before they reached the first victim they found a second victim,” he said.

Red Cliff Trail where two injured hikers are located and transported to the hospital Saturday, Washington County, Utah, May 6, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Dina Land, St. George News

After treating the injured hiker he was loaded into a stokes basket and carried out to an ambulance.

The team returned to the canyon and located the original victim who had an injury to his face as well as his hip, and after being provided medical care, the man was also loaded into the stokes basket and carried out by the team to be transported to the hospital.

A witness at the scene, Dina Land, said that the first victim was in his 50s and reportedly fell about 10 feet, landing on rocks and shrubs. The team rescued the man from the cliff that was more than 100 feet high by lowering him to the bottom in a stokes basket.

Land said the man came out of the canyon “scraped up pretty badly with a possible arm fracture, and possibly other injuries as well.”

Rescuers continued talking to him as they carried him off of the cliff and out of the canyon.

“I heard one of the rescuers reassuring him all the way down that cliff,” Land said.

Both men were transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center by Hurricane Valley Fire and EMS.

The entire rescue operation for both climbers took the teams a little more than four hours, Brooksby said, and was completed just after 5 p.m.

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

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • DesertBill May 7, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    What a wonderful service these Search and Rescue folks provide. Thanks for your frequent and needed work!

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