ST. GEORGE — Search and rescue teams carried an injured hiker nearly 2 miles after he couldn’t complete a trail Friday afternoon.
Washington County Sheriff’s Sgt. Darrell Cashin told St. George News his team was contacted at 11:15 a.m. after a man slipped and injured his leg at the Vortex near Lower Sand Cove Reservoir in Gunlock.
This rescue marked the 122nd for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office this year. With 24 days left in 2019, Cashin said this year’s numbers are almost on par with last year’s numbers, which was a record 132 rescues.
The hiker Friday was attempting to complete the trail with a group when he sustained the injuries and reported that he could not walk or complete the hike. The Dammeron Valley Fire Department, a Gold Cross Ambulance and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue responded to the scene, stabilized his leg and helped him walk off of the rocks before a rescue basket arrived.
From there, rescue teams worked to carry the hiker 1.75 miles back to the road through sand and rocks over several hours until the hiker was loaded into the ambulance and rescue crews were demobilized just before 2:30 p.m.
“It took every bit of all 10 of my search and rescue, the three from Gold Cross and the two from Dammeron that shows up to get him out,” Cashin said. “When you’re carrying somebody, especially when you’re in sand and dirt, it takes a while.”
The hiker was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center via ambulance with non-life-threatening injuries to his leg.
Cashin said the best way for Southern Utah residents and tourists to avoid becoming rescue No. 123 is to be prepared.
Being ready for any possible situation can save lives — even if a rescue is necessary, he said. Hikers should carry water, head lamps and additional layers with them, when possible, and always let someone know where they’re going, what trail they will be on and when they expect to be back.
“Always let someone know where you’re going so we have an idea of where to start if you don’t come back on time,” he said. “Know the area you’re going into so you have a good idea of what types of things you’re going to need, but you’re going to need to plan for, if something goes wrong, you can sustain yourself until we can get to you.”
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