Rescuers rappel injured woman over 400 feet down from Island in the Sky

The Washington County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue team responds to a fatal accident in the Dixie National Forest, Utah, Dec. 16, 2015 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — An injured woman who had to be rappelled over 400 feet down a cliff side in Snow Canyon State Park was one of multiple calls the Washington County Search and Rescue responded to Sunday.

During a previous rescue, emergency personnel lower a man injured while rappelling to safety at Island in the Sky in Snow Canyon State Park, Utah, Oct. 15, 2017 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

Shortly before noon Sunday, the county search and rescue team was called to Snow Canyon where a 65-year-old woman had injured her foot while hiking in the Island in the Sky area with three other people, Washington County Sheriff’s Sgt. Darrell Cashin said.

The woman fell about five feet while hiking and injured one of her feet, though the extent of the injury was unknown, Cashin said. The problem was she couldn’t put pressure on it. This resulted in the search and rescue team’s high-angle team being called in to retrieve the woman and those with her.

A drone was used to fly a line up to search and rescue team members, who had made contact with the group on the Island in the Sky trail.

“That worked out very well,” Cashin said of the drone being able to fly the line up to waiting responders.

Usually, he said, a special gun is used to fire a line toward the opposite party who are then able to use it to pull rope over to their location for use.

Once secured, rescuers rappelled the injured woman 410 feet down the cliff side, Cashin said.

Search and rescue personnel went back to the other hikers after the injured woman was at the bottom of the cliff. She was subsequently taken to the hospital in a private car versus transport by ambulance.

The county’s search and rescue team responded to other incidents Sunday afternoon as well, Cashin said.

One in the Toquerville-LaVerkin area involved an ATV group that had gotten lost, but were eventually found and brought back to familiar ground. Another call involved a motorcyclist who was separated from his group in the Apex Mine area on the western side of the county.

There was also a call out of Pine Valley involving a car that got stuck in the snow. However, that issue was able to resolve itself, Cashin said.

The multiple search and rescue calls were attributed to warmer weather Sunday and it being a three-day weekend. Cashin also said the calls the search and rescue team had responded to was up to 10 for the year so far.

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