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Contact: Ray O'Neil, 435-772-7823
Contact: David Eaker, 435-772-7811
Two hikers that were listed as missing in Zion National park have been found. Evgenia Buzulukova, 25 from Roy, Utah and Jonathon Wilson, 28 from Portland, Oregon, were located in the Left Fork of North Creek (The Subway) last night, April 19, at approximately 10 p.m. in safe and stable condition.
Buzulukova and Wilson had a backcountry permit for a one day trip through Russell Gulch and the Left Fork of North Creek (The Subway) on Saturday, April 16. This area is located near the Kolob Terrace Road in the park approximately 15 miles north of Virgin, Utah. They eventually reached a point in The Subway where the very high and cold water conditions were such that they did not think it was safe to continue. They decided to wait at this spot for help from other hikers who may be in The Subway.
On Tuesday, April 19, they encountered another group of hikers who were able to assist the couple through the difficult area. The couple then joined the group for the rest of the route through the canyon. They were eventually located that same evening at approximately 10 p.m. by a rescue helicopter from the 66th Rescue Squadron from Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, NV. Two squadron members were lowered down to the group and assisted them on the rest of the hike out. They all arrived safely at the Left Fork of North Creek Trailhead at approximately 11 p.m. Park rangers met the couple at the trailhead and determined that they did not require any medical attention. After interviewing them, they were released.
Park rangers began search efforts on Sunday, April 17 after the couple's vehicle was discovered at the Left Fork of North Creek Trailhead. The search continued into Monday, April 18 and was greatly expanded on Tuesday, April 19 when the couple were officially listed as missing. At that point there were 25 park rangers, park employees and volunteers involved in the search effort with support assistance including a helicopter, dog teams and multiple ground search teams.
The successful conclusion to the search was in part because the hikers had obtained a backcountry hiking permit which included information useful to the searchers. They also made a wise decision to wait for help in the canyon instead of attempting a difficult and dangerous obstacle that would have pushed the limits of their capabilities and equipment. 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. For more information on canyoneering in Zion, contact the park at 435-772-3256 or visit the park website at www.nps.gov/zion.