1 injured, 3 helped in 2 rescues on Sand Mountain

Composite image for illustrative purposes | St. George News

ST. GEORGE – One man was seriously injured and three people were rescued in two separate incidents over the weekend in the Sand Mountain Off-Highway Vehicle Area.

Washington County Search and Rescue crews were called out Saturday around 10 p.m. to help a man and a woman in their 20s who had become lost on Sand Mountain, Dep. Darrell Cashin said.

A man and woman were riding two all-terrain vehicles on Sand Mountain when they became lost and it got dark, he said.

“They drove around for about four hours, could not find their way off, (were) almost out of fuel,” Cashin said.

One of the ATVs had been having mechanical problems and had to be repeatedly jump-started.

The lost couple was finally able to call in to the St. George Communications Center which dispatched rescue crews who located them in the back of the bowl area, Cashin said.

The woman had rolled her ATV at one point during the day, Cashin said, but was wearing protective gear and said she wasn’t hurt. She refused medical treatment, he said.

Search and rescue teams gave them fuel, helped them start one of the ATVs and got them back to their vehicle in Warner Valley, Cashin said. Seven search and rescue team volunteers responded to the scene, and the rescue was wrapped up by about 1 a.m. Sunday.

On Sunday afternoon, a 58-year-old man rolled his utility task vehicle, or UTV, on the sand dunes of Sand Mountain, also in the bowl area, Cashin said. A passerby called for help about 3 p.m. and Washington County Search and Rescue, Sand Hollow State Park rangers and Hurricane Emergency Medical Services responded.

While rescuers were en route, dispatchers received a 911 call directly that made it possible for them to get better GPS coordinates from the call.

When rescuers arrived, they found that the man had potentially severe head and back injuries and so a medical helicopter was called to the scene.

“When the UTV rolled, apparently the roll bar hit him in the head,” Cashin said.

The man was conscious but did not know where he was and was repeating himself, Cashin said, both of which are indicators of head injury.

The helicopter was able to land within 200 yards of the injured man, the deputy said, and rescuers were able to get the man safely loaded into the helicopter. He was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George. Six search and rescue team volunteers responded to the scene, and the rescue was wrapped up by about 5:30 p.m., Cashin said. As this report is published, he did not know the condition of the injured man.

Calling for help

If you’re lost or injured and in need of help, calling a friend will not help rescuers locate you. If you receive a call from a friend who is in need of help, it’s important to have that person call 911 directly.

If a person calls 911 directly, the dispatch center can pull GPS coordinates from the phone call, Cashin said. Calling police or dispatch at a regular phone number will not provide GPS coordinates.

Read more: Search, rescue crews find lost hiker near The Wave; how to hike safely, how to be found

Getting GPS coordinates also depends on the strength of the signal when making the call, he said.

The better the signal, the more accurate the GPS coordinates are that rescuers receive. Depending on the location, a person in need of help may need to climb to the top of a hill.

“You’ll have a better chance of getting service,” he said. In a canyon, cell phone service is less likely to be available. “(In) slot canyons you won’t have anything.”

A little known fact is that any working cell phone can call 911, Cashin said, even if service has been discontinued by the cell phone company.

It’s important to stop moving once a call for help is placed, Cashin said.

“Once they make that 911 call, and they call for help, they’ve got to sit down in place and wait for us to come,” Cashin said.

“The only time I ever tell anyone to move, is if their life is in danger,” he said. “As long as they stay near that GPS (location) we’ll find them.”

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.




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