ST. GEORGE — With the help of a helicopter, emergency responders rescued a 72-year-old man who suffered cardiac issues and went unconscious while hiking near Leeds on Monday.
The man became weak, then unconscious while hiking on the Babylon Arch trail south of Leeds at about 1 p.m. Monday, said Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue liaison Sgt. Darrell Cashin. Search and rescue volunteers took about an hour to hike to the man, and then started to slowly carry him out of the canyon.
Due to man’s medical history with cardiac issues, Cashin said responders decided to call an Intermountain Life Flight helicopter. After being carried 300-400 yards, the man was airlifted to the trailhead, where the decision was made to take him the rest of the way to the hospital by ambulance to save on Life Flight expenses for the patient.
“If we didn’t call Life Flight, we’d have still be out there hours later,” Cashin said. “He was in a difficult part of the canyon, and carrying him all the way out with all of his gear would have been very labor-intensive.”
The man was in a stable condition when he was taken to the hospital, but emergency responders always have to be careful about dealing with cardiac issues.
“I’m not a doctor, but I know cardiac issues can be very serious,” Cashin said.
Airlifting a patient on a Life Flight helicopter all the way to the hospital can incur high costs for the patient, he said, but flying the man from the canyon to the trailhead costs nothing for Life Flight, which is why he decided to be taken to the hospital by ambulance.
This rescue is Washington County Search and Rescue’s fourth call in four days, Cashin said, adding “I’m hoping it will die down a little bit, but I’m not holding my breath.”
Hurricane Valley Fire and Rescue also responded to the scene. This report is based on statements from emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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