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.
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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