Responders spend 7 hours searching for hunter who accidentally called them

A stock image shows a helicopter | Photo by Thinkstock Images/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News / Cedar City News

ST. GEORGE — A hunter who accidentally called the Iron County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team kicked off a seven-hour manhunt for him involving a helicopter Friday.

The man was hunting in Hamlin Valley, a remote area of western Iron County near the Nevada state line, when he pressed a button on an emergency alert device that sent a message to officials saying he was involved in a vehicle rollover, said Lt. Del Schlosser, public information officer for the Iron County Sheriff’s Office.

Hamlin Valley, an area of land near the Nevada-Utah border in Iron County, Utah, Dec. 8, 2009 | Photo by Qfl247 via Wikimedia Commons, St. George News / Cedar City News

The hunter did not intend to press the button on his satellite device, but because there was little-to-no cell phone reception in the area, search and rescue volunteers were sent to the area to try to find him, Schlosser said.

Based on the GPS coordinates that accompanied the message to officials, Iron County Sheriff’s deputies, officials with emergency medical services and a helicopter from the Southern Utah University aviation program also responded to the area.

After several hours of searching the area around the coordinates with no luck finding the man, the search for him was called off. Officials had started looking for him at 1:25 p.m. Friday, and it wasn’t until 8:30 p.m. when they called it quits. The man was located 30 minutes later by a friend in Beaver County, Schlosser said.

The man isn’t going to face any fines or punishments for search and rescue spending hours looking for him because they were called because of a mistake and it wasn’t done with malicious intent, Schlosser said.

“As much as I like to tell people to tell others where you’re going when you spend time outdoors, this man had already done that,” Schlosser said. “He did all the things that were right … but just due to the remoteness of the area, we were unable to make contact with him via normal communication so we didn’t know he didn’t need help.”

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • hiker75 October 15, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    Just imagine what he does with his gun.

    • Mjohnson October 16, 2018 at 8:59 am

      You’re comparing a radio to a gun? Let me guess, you’re not a gun owner?

  • Mike P October 16, 2018 at 11:32 am

    I still think he should be charged for wasting 7 hours of critical emergency personnel and equipment. That Helicopter fuel isn’t cheap and we’re tired of paying for it. CHARGE HIM.

  • Ryno November 4, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    Wait until it’s a friend of yours that you are hunting with and you get an SOS message. He was plugging his charger in, and hit the button by accident. What a scary situation to be in if it is someone you care about. I’m just glad he was safe. BTW the reason he wasn’t charged, was because he did everything he was supposed to do as a hunter, and is very responsible and it could have happened to any one of us. Rethink it guys

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