Crews rescue 3 hikers suffering from cold and exhaustion in Garfield County slot canyon

Crews at the scene of a search and rescue operation in Garfield County, Utah, May 25, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Garfield County Sheriff's Office, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Three hikers were rescued from a slot canyon in Garfield County Saturday after they were reported overdue days before.

Crews at the scene of a search and rescue operation in Garfield County, Utah, May 25, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The hikers, two men and one woman visiting from Colorado, had embarked on a hike Wednesday in the Capital Reef National Park area on the Mulie Twist Trail, according to a statement released by Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.

They were reported overdue by concerned family Thursday at around 7 p.m., at which point Garfield County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue crews and National Park Service rangers were deployed to the trail to begin searching for the trio.

“The trailhead was checked and the search parties were unable to find the vehicle that the party was supposedly traveling in,” the Sheriff’s Office stated. “They continued to search for the vehicle to have a starting point to try to locate the party.”

Deputies then called for a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter crew to assist in the extensive search. The combined forces continued to search by air and on ground all day Friday, but they were unable to locate the hiking party, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

On Saturday, one of the rangers located the vehicle parked near some green trees on Notum Road. After the vehicle was found, the search focused on the Strike Valley slot canyon, and the hikers were finally located in the canyon by helicopter crews.

A helicopter lands at the scene of a search and rescue operation in Garfield County, Utah, May 25, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

“After talking to the overdue party, the search teams were informed that the three individuals had been hiking in the canyon, it had rained while on their hike and they were wet, cold and exhausted,” the Sheriff’s Office stated. “The female had hypothermia and they had decided to just wait for help.”

Ropes teams were sent to the scene, and all three hikers were lifted to safety and helped out of the slot canyon.

In the statement, the Sheriff’s Office said Sheriff James Perkins is “extremely thankful for all of those involved with this incredible search and rescue.”

“Without the help of those involved, it could have been a terrible situation instead of a successful rescue,” the statement reads.

The Sheriff’s Office advises hikers to check the weather, bring a GPS device, study the area and be prepared for any weather situation before embarking on a hike.

Responders included personnel from the Department of Public Safety, Classic Air Life Flight, Capital Reef National Park, Garfield County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue and Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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