Hiker healing after 8-hour rescue in Pine Valley Mountains

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ST. GEORGE — A hiker in his 60s was still hospitalized Saturday after a nearly 8-hour search-and-rescue operation that included two helicopters, officials reported.

The man had been hiking with a small group on the Oak Grove trail in the Pine Valley Mountains, a steep terrain about 25 miles north of St. George. Authorities were summoned to the emergency scene before 1 p.m. Friday after reports that the victim experienced chest pains, Washington County Emergency Services Director Jason Whipple told St. George News.

A team of emergency rescuers and flight crews from Utah and Arizona were immediately deployed to try and rescue the man. They included the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s air rescue team, who are equipped with long haul capabilities and don’t require landing. Instead, the victim, accompanied by a crew member, is loaded into a basket that is suspended beneath a helicopter and flown to a suitable landing zone, which in this case was set up at the base of Pine Mountain, where an Intermountain Life Flight helicopter and crew were on standby.

The eight-hour rescue operation was conducted by Washington County Search and Rescue with assistance from Intermountain Life Flight, Hildale/Colorado City Fire Department and the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s air rescue team.

The hiker was then flown Friday to Dixie Regional Medical Center for evaluation and treatment. By Saturday morning, the man was doing much better, Whipple added.

This report is based on statements from police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.


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