‘Life Flight took care of business’; Hiker injured near top of Shinob Kibe mesa flown to nearby field

ST. GEORGE — A woman was flown from Shinob Kibe mesa to a soccer field in Washington City after she suffered a fractured ankle during a hike with her husband Tuesday morning.

Intermountain Life Flight lands on top of Shinob Kibe mesa as shown in red square, Washington City, Utah, April 28, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Washington City Police Department, St. George News

Washington City Police Lt. Kory Klotz told St. George News that at 8:45 a.m. Tuesday, officers and emergency personnel were dispatched to Shinob Kibe trail in Washington City on a report of a traumatic incident involving a 61-year-old woman who was injured during a hike with her husband.

The 1.5 mile trail zigzags up a slanted mesa near the Virgin River, and the short path to the top is fairly strenuous with several steep drop-offs and a total elevation gain of almost 600 feet.

“It’s that big huge round mountain just east of Sullivan Soccer Park,” Klotz said, “It’s a popular trail that people hike all of the time.”

The hiker was found just a few hundred feet from the top, he said, having suffered a fractured ankle. As such, responders requested assistance from Intermountain Life Flight, which was launched from its helipad at Dixie Regional Medical Center to make the short flight to the top of the mesa while responders made the trek on foot to reach the injured hiker.

The Life Flight crew was able to land near the edge of the mesa, and once the hiker’s ankle was stabilized, she was flown to the soccer park where the helicopter landed in the middle of one of the fields to an awaiting ambulance. The woman was then transported to the hospital for evaluation and treatment.

The husband was uninjured, and after hiking down off the mesa, he drove to the hospital to be with his wife.

Video of Life Flight at the top of this report courtesy of the Washington City Police Department.

Klotz said that the hiker was in the ambulance by 10 a.m., so the rescue took very little time, which is the best possible outcome, particularly when there are injuries involved. The use of Life Flight also reduces the risk of further injury that can occur when a hiker is loaded onto a gurney or basket and then lowered to the bottom using ropes before being carried out by rescuers.

2015 file photo of Shinob Kibe, Washington County, Utah, circa December 2015 | Photo by Dave Amodt, St. George News

Moreover, the area near the top of the mesa where the hiker was located is very rugged, with steep cliffs and drop-offs that take time to negotiate, he said, and which would have prolonged the rescue and further delayed treatment options for the hiker.

Klotz went on to say the helicopter’s ability to land at the top of the bluff just a few feet from where the injured woman was located changed everything. Within minutes she was on the ground where she was loaded into the ambulance and on her way to the hospital.

“Life Flight took care of business and really helped us out today,” Klotz said, “and in turn helped the patient and everyone involved.”

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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