Over the holiday weekend, Zion National Park Search and Rescue and Utah DPS rescued an Arizona hiker from quick sand, where he was stuck for nearly 10 hours in winter conditions.
The man was hiking with a companion on the Left Fork Trail on the way to The Subway, a popular hiking route in the park, when approximately three hours into the hike, the man’s right leg sunk into the ground up to his knee. After unsuccessfully attempting to free the leg, his companion left him with warm gear and clothing and hiked three hours for phone service to call 911.
Zion National Park Staff Perform Emergency Quicksand Rescue for Stuck Hiker
Video courtesy of Utah DPS
After receiving a call from the companion, the Zion Search and Rescue team quickly found her at the trailhead and treated her for hypothermia conditions.
After several hours of searching, rangers found and began to rescue the stuck hiker. The rangers spent about two hours working to free the leg, and due to harsh winter conditions, were forced to stay with the hiker in the canyon overnight until a rescue helicopter was able to fly in.
Thanks to a small break in the weather the next afternoon, the DPS helicopter was able to safely extricate the patient with a hoist rescue operation. The patient was transported to an awaiting ambulance and then to the hospital.
Despite the region’s usually tame weather, winter conditions in Zion can be harsh and extremely dangerous to hikers, with freezing water temperatures and slippery trail conditions. “Presidents Day Weekend is often dry, warm, and sunny,” says Aly Baltrus, Zion’s Public Information Officer. “This year was as predicted—cold and wet.”