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Contact: David Eaker, 435-772-7811
Contact: Ron Terry, 435-772-0160
An injured hiker was rescued from Pine Creek Canyon in Zion National Park on Thursday evening, July 30, 2008. Kaitlyn Bohlin, 23, of Northfield, Illinois, fell approximately 100 feet during the last rappel in the popular canyoneering area. She suffered multiple injuries and was transported by helicopter to the University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The cause of the fall is under investigation.
Bohlin, a backcountry volunteer in Zion, was canyoneering with a friend on her day off in Pine Creek Canyon, a route that she had completed in the past. The fall occurred at approximately 2:45 p.m. as she was preparing to do the final rappel of the route. Bohlin’s canyoneering companion immediately contacted Zion Dispatch using Bohlin’s park radio. Responding paramedic rangers rappelled from a window in the Zion Tunnel to reach Bohlin, who was being cared for by another canyoneering group in the canyon. Due to the location of the accident and the nature of Bohlin’s injuries, it was decided to request assistance from the U.S. Air Force Rescue group stationed at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas.
Once the paramedic rangers arrived on scene, Bohlin was secured, placed in litter, and carried about ¼ mile to an area in the canyon where the Air Force Blackhawk helicopter could safely lift her and the medics by a cable into the hovering craft. She was then transported via helicopter to the University Medical Center in Las Vegas.
Zion National Park Superintendent Jock Whitworth and staff would like to express their hopes and concerns for Kaitlyn and her family.
While canyon hiking (canyoneering) in Zion can be a challenging and rewarding activity, it is not one that should be entered into lightly. At least one member of each party should be experienced in canyoneering and the use of any required technical equipment. Hikers should also be aware of weather conditions and the possibility of flash floods. By entering into a narrow canyon, visitors take safety as their own responsibility. All persons canyoneering in the park should talk to qualified park staff before their hike. Some canyon hikes in the park (including Pine Creek) require advance permits. For more information on canyoneering in Zion, contact the park at 435-772-3256 or visit the park website at www.nps.gov/zion.