Lost in the dark on Red Mountain, Sheriff’s team to the rescue

IVINS – Two hikers were rescued late Friday night after becoming stranded in the dark on the Red Mountain.

The hikers, a 76-year-old man and his son, had scaled the mountain from the Ivins side early that afternoon, intending to reach the Red Mountain Trailhead on state Route-18. But they became lost as night fell, unable to make their way back safely.

They contacted a family member via cell phone, who notified Washington County Sheriff Search and Rescue of their predicament. Life Flight was dispatched to locate them.

The two men were picked up by a ground rescue team around 11:30 p.m. Despite being exposed to the elements for several hours, they were not injured and suffered no health issues.

“Fortunately, they took safety precautions by bringing food, water, flashlights and warm clothes,” Washington County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jeff Bailey said.

“Thank you so very much for rescuing my Husband and Son!,” Donna Lighfoot Sumner posted to the Search and Rescue team on their Facebook, “It was a worrisome night and your prompt response was such a comfort! Words just can not express my gratitude to all of you for your skill and dedicated service! We wish you all a glorious Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year! Warmest regards!”

Hiking is popular year-round in Southern Utah, and risks are present no matter the climate or conditions. To keep excursions enjoyable and safe, Washington County Sheriff Search and Rescue offers safety tips that all should read and apply.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

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  • Peter Wainsworth December 24, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    I hope they will be billed for their use of these services.

    • ken December 24, 2012 at 8:28 pm

      Will cost someone a lot of money!

    • Jared December 24, 2012 at 8:51 pm

      They already have, they paid their taxes, and called when needed. Don’t be an ass!

  • to peter December 24, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Peter why don’t you get lost

  • Biff December 25, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    It’s easy to get caught in the dark this time of year. I’ve underestimated Red Mountain myself and gotten caught by darkness in the summer. Long way from Dammeron Valley to Ivins and no real trail much of the way. Be careful out there.

  • SAR Volunteer December 26, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Every time there is a SAR story, someone has to comment on the cost. What I am going to recommend is that people need to do some research and get educated before making these comments. (St George News, this might be a good idea for a story).
    – SAR: All of the Search and Rescue in Washington County (and throughout most of the state of Utah) are 100% volunteers. We volunteer our time, expertise and equipment. There is no cost for our services to the county, your tax dollars, or to the rescued party. We do it because we love it and purely for the satisfaction of helping out people in a time of need!
    – LifeFlight: A large portion of the funding for LifeFlight in St George came from Community fund raising (Jubilee of trees is an example). Their commitment to the community for this fund raising is to assist in the community as needed including Search and Rescue operations. They only charge if they transport a patient to the hospital (in which case it would be covered by insurance). There was no charge to the County, taxpayers, or the rescued parties for this operation.
    – County Resources: Obviously there are always a couple county Deputies involved running operations. These are paid deputies and do represent a cost to the county. However, for the most part, they are on duty anyway. If they were not answering this “call”. They would be responding to other “calls” in the county. This is just what we pay taxes for. So that when we call 911 in a time of need, no matter what the reason, deputies are on duty to assist.

    And, if there are any hard costs to the County (example: ropes or gas or whatever), there is a fund set up by the state to reimburse the county for any SAR related costs: http://publicsafety.utah.gov/emergencymanagement/SARadvisoryboard1.htm The fund is funded by a portion of all ATV registration fees.

    So, I consider their “use of these services” to be Paid in Full by their words of thanks when we returned their love ones to them safely!

    • Peter Wainsworth December 27, 2012 at 6:12 am

      They were in no real danger and should have stuck it out until morning. Why are we such a society of weaklings?

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