UTAH — A 38-year-old Utah hunter who found himself stranded Wednesday night dug a snow cave to protect himself from below freezing temperatures and severe blizzard conditions, officials said.
Trevor Valentine, of Weber County, was in “very serious” condition when rescue crews located him Thursday morning near Wildcat Mountain located southwest of Snowville, Box Elder County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Dale Ward said in a statement Friday morning.
Valentine had left to go hunting around noon Wednesday in western Box Elder County, Ward said. Six hours later, Valentine sent a text message to his wife informing her that he had gotten stuck.
He instructed his wife to meet him on state Route 30 between Kelton and Curlew junctions, noting that it was only about a 3-mile hike and that he should be able to make it there within an hour.
Valentine’s wife had contact with him until about 9 p.m., Ward said. After driving the road and calling Valentine’s phone with no response, she reported her husband missing at approximately 11:20 p.m.
To properly cover the area, a search and rescue team approached the area Valentine was believed to be from different locations.
“Upon arrival, they encountered severe ground blizzard conditions and serious drifting snow in the roadways,” Ward said. “At one point, it took one group of Search and Rescue four hours to get from the main road to Wildcat Mountain.”
Once snow and wind subsided Thursday morning, crews were able to expand their search using snowmobiles. Valentine was located at about 10 a.m. Ward said Valentine was able to survive by digging a snow cave.
“He had attempted to dig himself into the snow to protect from the wind and cold,” Ward said. “Temperatures with wind chill were well below zero in the area.”
Once conditions were good enough for an Intermountain Life Flight helicopter to land in the area, Valentine was transported to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray in “very serious” condition.
This report is based on preliminary information provided by emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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