Swift water rescuers pull 1 person from Virgin River in Zion National Park

FILE - Zion National Park Search and Resuce vehicle, date unknown | Photo courtesy of National Park Service, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A swift water training exercise turned into reality Friday at Zion National Park, and thanks to the efforts of the rescuers, the individual’s life was saved, even though she had no pulse after being pulled from the Virgin River.

Visitors to Zion National Park negotiate the waters of the Virgin River, Oct. 3, 2021 | Photo by Vin Cappiello, St. George News

According to a National Park Service press release,  around 1:15 p.m. on Friday, visitors reported to a Zion National Park ranger that a person was in the Virgin River holding onto a log and calling for help. The ranger contacted National Park Service emergency dispatchers who mobilized responders, including an ambulance from Hurricane Valley Fire District, to assist.

The park service and Washington County Sheriff’s Office were conducting a joint swift water rescue training exercise near the Temple of Sinawava in Zion when the ranger made the report. Responders left their exercise and repositioned to attempt a rescue, the news release said.

The team successfully pulled the person, a 25-year-old woman from Canada, from the Virgin River near Birch Creek. The patient was not responsive and did not have a pulse. However, after NPS and Hurricane Valley Fire District paramedics administered CPR, she regained her pulse.

Zion emergency dispatchers had previously contacted a medical helicopter service, and park service and Hurricane Valley Fire District paramedics transported the patient to a helicopter landing zone. The patient was evacuated by air to a hospital.

The patient apparently entered the water near the Grotto and was not able to get out on her own. The visitors who reported this incident did not know how she entered the river, the news release said.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2023, all rights reserved.

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