Six-Day Search Effort Locates Missing Hiker

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Date: September 4, 2016
Contact: Christiana Admiral, 928-608-6351
Contact: Alan Alldredge, 435-644-2349

After a friend reported an overdue hiker, a multi-agency search and rescue team located him near Willow Creek Canyon in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. After six days out in the elements, he was dehydrated and sunburned, but otherwise in good health.

Before departing for a day hike on August, 29, a 72-year-old Richfield, Utah man informed a friend that he would be exploring the Hole in the Rock area of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Kane County, Utah. He planned a day hike to Lake Powell. When he failed to return home, his friend became worried and contacted the Richfield Sheriff’s Office on September 2. Officers confirmed that he was not at his residence. They traced his cell phone to the Hole in the Rock area and notified Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. National Park Rangers located his car, and noted his entry in the trail registry, at the Willow Creek Trailhead.

The National Park Service, Utah Department of Public Safety and Bureau of Land Management joined a multi-agency search led by Kane County Sheriff’s Office. The search included helicopters, fixed wing aircraft, ground crews and boat patrols of the Lake Powell shoreline.

Although the team of 14 searchers had focused on Willow Creek Canyon, a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter spotted the hiker on September 4 at approximately 2:00 p.m.outside the canyon, 2.5 miles southwest of the trailhead. He was waving at the helicopter with his shirt. His skin, bronzed by the sun, blended in with the surrounding rocks. He told rescuers that he had become disoriented and hiked up out of the canyon looking for the trailhead.

He was flown by helicopter to the helibase in Escalante, Utah for medical evaluation and rehydration. After six days exposed to the elements, he is in good health.

“This hiker’s life was saved by a call from a concerned friend,” said Alan Alldredge, Chief Deputy at Kane County Sheriff’s Office. “Hiking with a friend, and letting someone know specifically where you plan to hike, and when you plan to return, can make the difference between life and death.”

“I would like to express my appreciation to the search team whose skill and dedication saved a hiker’s life today,” said Billy Shott, Superintendent of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.


Last updated: September 6, 2016

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