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Injured Hiker Rescued From the Subway

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Date: July 2, 2007
Contact: David Eaker, 435-772-7811
Contact: Ray O'Neil, 435-772-7823

National Park Rangers rescued a hiker from the Subway (Left Fork of North Creek) on Monday July 2, 2007, after she injured her ankle on Sunday, July 1.  Debbie Whitaker, 45, of St. George, Utah, spent Sunday night accompanied by park rangers. She was evacuated Monday morning by helicopter.

Yesterday, at 6:00 p.m., park rangers were contacted by a group hiking out of the Subway that reported a person in their party had sustained a ground-level fall near the last rappel in the canyon and was suffering from a severely sprained or possibly broken ankle.  Rangers arrived at the scene at approximately 8:30 p.m. and found that Whitaker’s ankle injury prevented her from hiking out.  Due to the time of day and the nature of the incident, it was decided to attempt the evacuation on Monday using a helicopter since a technical rescue would require a larger number of people and increase danger to the team. Two park rangers/medics spent the night with Whitaker in the Subway.    

Early Monday morning a helicopter from Grand Canyon National Park was called in to perform the short haul operation to extract the patient.  Whitaker was successfully air lifted from the Subway at 10:30 a.m.   She was then transferred to the Zion National Park ambulance and taken to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George, Utah. 

Park official warn visitors that many trails in the park are strenuous and can be dangerous and should not be underestimated. Good planning, proper equipment, and sound judgment are essential for a safe and successful trip. Hikers should know their abilities and not overextend themselves.

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