SNOW CANYON STATE PARK — A man was rescued in Snow Canyon State Park Sunday after falling 30 feet during a rappel.
Emergency crews responded to the incident just after 4 p.m. at the park’s Island in the Sky, a popular climbing, hiking and rappelling area.
“A kid in his mid-20s was rappelling – apparently being belayed from the top – and he swung across the rocks and bounced off of them a couple times and fell about 30 feet,” Sgt. Darrell Cashin, Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Liaison, said.
Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue’s high angle team and medical personnel from Ivins EMS hiked up a steep notch in the area’s rocky terrain to reach the injured patient.
The man was conscious and talking when crews reached him. He complained of pain in the shoulder and ankle and was unable to walk on his own.
EMTs wrapped and immobilized his ankle then loaded him into a Stokes basket to be lowered approximately 200 feet down a cliff face to safety.
Crews worked cautiously to prepare a pulley lowering system for the descent down the sandstone rock feature.
“The patient wasn’t critical so they could slow everything down,” Cashin said of the operation.
Lowering the patient is a safer and faster alternative to hiking down on foot, high angle crew member Ben Callahan said.
“Up at the top, the guys are controlling the speed of the lower,” he said. “If they need to stop or lock off, they can stop immediately.”
“If we come upon something tricky,” Callahan said, “we can also rig it to raise it back up and then choose a different route or whatever we need to do.”
After the patient was successfully lowered to sturdier ground, he was loaded onto a medical all-terrain vehicle and transported to a nearby parking area. He declined transport by an awaiting ambulance and was instead taken to the hospital by his friends.
“It went off without a hitch,” Cashin said of the effort, adding that none of the rescuers were hurt during the incident.
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