ST. GEORGE — Search and rescue personnel rescued four women who were stuck in a slot canyon Sunday night in the Escalante area of Garfield County.
Around 8 p.m., the Garfield County Dispatch Center was contacting by a company that received a beacon alert from a person stranded and suffering from hypothermia in the Death Box Hollow Slot Canyon, according to a press release from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.
The individual with the emergency beacon was among four women out of Salt Lake City area ranging from 40 to 53 years old. They told authorities that they had hiked around the area before and were somewhat experienced hikers.
The women said they believed water in Death Box Hollow would only be ankle- to knee-high. Instead, they encountered spots where it was deeper and even had to swim in parts.
“The weather had been cold and wet and hypothermia was setting in on these individuals,” the Sheriff’s Office stated in the press release. “The women were able to get on a ledge. Luckily one of the women had decided to get a beacon alert before going on this hike or they possibly might not have been located.”
When the alert was received by dispatch center, search and rescue personnel were contacted along with the Utah Department of Public Safety so they could gain access to the helicopter there.
Only three members of the county’s search and rescue team were available, including Garfield County Commissioner Jerry Taylor, Rick Green and Justin Porter, according to the press release.
Taylor and Green were picked up by the DPS helicopter and flown to the location of the alert beacon. Taylor and Green attempted to climb down into the canyon, but the terrain proved to be too steep and dangerous, especially in the dark.
It was decided to use the hoist on the DPS helicopter to get the women out of the canyon. That required the DPS crew to retrieve another crew member out of Moab to help operate the hoist.
The women were were lifted out of the canyon one-by-one.
“They were cold, tired and frightened but there were no injuries,” according to the Sheriff’s Office. “They were warmed up with blankets and examined by the Garfield County Ambulance crew. No one was taken to the hospital.”
The women were driven back to their car by Taylor.
The operation started Sunday at 8 a.m. and concluded 5 a.m. Monday.
“Garfield County Search and Rescue consists of volunteers who are willing to train and be available whether it is day or night to help those in need. Garfield County is lucky to have such great volunteers and a great partnership with the Department of Public Safety helicopter and crew.”
The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office thanked the Department of Public Safety for its help.
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