Crews rescue injured hiker stranded overnight on MIA Trail, Kolob

ST. GEORGE  — An injured hiker was flown to safety Sunday after rescue teams located him on the MIA Trail thanks to two friends who hiked through the night to call for help.

At approximately 7 a.m. Sunday, St. George Communications Center received a call reporting a 27-year-old man injured on the MIA Trail that starts in Zion National Park near Kolob Terrace Road and Lava Point Road.

Injured hiker is rescued from this area on the MIA Trail by Washington County Search and Rescue and Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter near Kolob Canyon, Washington County, Utah, June 4, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Search and Rescue, St. George News

The call originated from two men who were on the trail with their friend who suffered an injury to his knee during their hike Saturday. The two friends set out to find help, and after hiking throughout the night were finally able to make the call to 911, said Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Darrell Cashin, who serves as liaison for the Sheriff’s Office and the county’s search and rescue volunteers.

“At that point I paged out my high-angle team, the east-ground team and EMS team,” Cashin said, “so they would have plenty of manpower out there.”

A helicopter crew from Utah Department of Public Safety was also called in to assist, the deputy said, due to the treacherous landscape, steep cliffs  and rugged terrain.

“That particular area has deep canyons and high cliffs, and you can walk 20 feet in any direction and be near the edge of a cliff, depending upon where you are,” he said.

After nearly three hours the search and rescue teams reached the man, finding him dehydrated but in good spirits. He told rescuers that he was left with food and water the previous day, but had run out hours earlier.

The mild canyon temperatures throughout the night prevented any exposure-related issues for the hiker and he was found in relatively good health, other than the knee injury.

“The injury itself wasn’t life threatening, but it was enough to prevent him from making it out of the canyon on his own which could have been disastrous,” Cashin said.

The hiker also told rescuers that he was originally from Maine, but recently relocated to Southern Utah. He said his friends who called 911 were visiting from Las Vegas and that the trio decided on Saturday to tackle the MIA Trail for the first time.

Meanwhile, the man was given water and checked by rescuers while the helicopter was approaching the area.

“Thankfully the man didn’t drink any water from the nearby creek,” Cashin said, “because without boiling it first or using a purifying straw it can be dangerous, and could have made him very ill.”

Read more: Heat can kill, getting lost can be fatal; how to survive the heat, be found when you’re lost or in distress

The man was then loaded into a Stokes basket and short-hauled to a staging area where a Hurricane Valley Fire and Rescue ambulance was waiting.

Department of Public Safety helicopter flies over rescue area on MIA trail near Kolob Canyon, Washington County, Utah, June 5, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Search and Rescue, St. George News

“We had very little information, and we had no idea how severe the injury to his knee would be or what condition we would find him in,” Cashin said, “so we had an ambulance waiting in case it was needed.”

The man’s injury to his knee was then checked by the medical team but he refused transport to the hospital.

The DPS helicopter returned to the rescue area and picked up one of the search team members, along with all of the teams’ gear, ropes and equipment and flew them to the staging area.

“That DPS flight crew was awesome,” Cashin said, “for taking the time to go back because it saved the rescue teams from having to make that hike out while carrying all of that equipment.”

The rest of the search team hiked back to the staging area while a sheriff’s deputy drove the hiker to the campground where his two friends were waiting.

“We really appreciate the Utah Department of Public Safety,” Cashin said, “and that flight crew for flying the hiker out and then taking the time to go back, which kept our guys out of harm’s way.”

The Washington County Search and Rescue, Utah Department of Public Safety, Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Hurricane Valley Fire and Rescue assisted in the rescue.

This report is based on statements from law enforcement and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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Twitter: @STGnews

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


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  • comments June 5, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    I feel like these people should be billed at least something. You need some kind of fee to act as a deterrent, even if it’s just $250 or 500, etc.

    • comments June 5, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      or a couple thousand $$$. They should gladly pay it, too

  • mmsandie June 5, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    When are climbers going to stop, getting lost, injuring themselves, They are in experienced, they don,t know the trails,, and should pay forthe rescue.

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