ST. GEORGE — The Iron County Sheriff’s office, in collaboration with Southern Utah University Aviation, located a 77-year-old man who spent up to 24 hours stranded in his vehicle in a remote part of northwest Iron County last weekend.
The man, whom Iron County Sheriff Lt. Del Schlosser said was a resident of northern Utah, was checking on a mining claim in the Pinto Springs area. After not checking in with his family the morning of the rescue, they contacted the hotel where he was staying to discover he did not check in the night before. After being contacted, the Sheriff’s Office coordinated with Southern Utah University Aviation, which was able to quickly locate the man’s vehicle on Jan. 15 and direct officials to its location.
“Once they were on scene to the general area, they were (able to locate the vehicle in) nine minutes, I believe,” Schlosser told Cedar City News.
The Sheriff’s office shared a video and description of the rescue in a Facebook post Saturday morning.
The man’s truck had a dead battery. Schlosser couldn’t say if the cause of the incident was the vehicle breaking down or the man becoming lost.
He had food and water but reportedly told responders he would not have survived another night in the freezing temperatures in the dead vehicle. Schlosser said the man was in good condition at the time of the rescue. The victim had a knee replacement recently, according to the Facebook post.
Schlosser said the man’s effort in making sure people knew where he was going to be and his habit of providing updates were essential in the rescue. When he didn’t check in with his family the morning of the rescue as he normally does, the family immediately began investigating.
“The one thing I would say in this case, the gentleman told people where he was going to be, where he was going to report to, which is a great example,” Schlosser said. “It makes it successful for us to do our operations. We had a general idea where he was at. His family knew he didn’t check in, which obviously gave them the concern to call us. It’s a reminder that you should be doing the things he did. That’s what makes these searches successful.”
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