Authorities engage in search for 2 hunters lost overnight

Pilots from Southern Utah University's aviation program assist in aerial search for two hunters, Cedar City, Utah, Jan. 25, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Iron County Sheriff's Office, St. George News / Cedar City News

Update: 8:03 p.m. – The Iron County Sheriff’s Office reported the elk hunters who are in their early 20s were both found safe after staying all night in their vehicle that had become stuck in the snow. The two men started walking out of the area the next morning until they found cell service and were able to contact 911 for assistance. 

The hunters were located on the Gold Springs road approximately five miles from state Route 56, Sheriff Mark Gower said, adding that the men were more than 20 miles away from the area they had been reported to be in.

“It was a good thing they found cell service because we were searching in an area miles and miles away from where the reporting party had said they were supposed to be,” Gower said.

This search is one of 14 that have happened in the same area this winter, Lt. Del Schlosser said. Authorities are now advising residents that there be no travel in the Hamblin Valley and Gold Springs area due to the snow conditions there that include heavy snow drifts.

CEDAR CITY – An aerial search for two hunters that began Wednesday morning came to an end within hours as authorities are now reporting the men have been located.

Helicopters from the Southern Utah University aviation program began their search Wednesday morning after the Iron County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue crews had gone out the night before for several hours in their vehicles.

The search was initiated after reports came in of two hunters from Enterprise who had not returned home as expected, said Iron County Sheriff Lt. Del Schlosser. The men had left Tuesday morning to the Hamblin Valley Indian Peaks area, located west of Cedar City.

The men were first contacted via a cellphone they used to contact 911 at approximately 10 a.m. Wednesday.

At the time of this report, Sgt. Nik Johnson and Sheriff Mark Gower were headed out to pick up the two men. While authorities did not have any details as to how the men survived below-freezing temperatures through the night, they are reported to be in good condition, Schlosser said.

The men were originally anticipated to return home at around 6:30-7 p.m. Tuesday. They had not taken any camping supplies but did have the ability to start a fire, Schlosser said.

“They don’t need any medical attention, but we don’t know what happened, nor do we have any further information at this time,” Schlosser said.

The area the men were hunting in is estimated to be more than 1,000 square miles, which drew concern from authorities.

“It’s such a big area to search, we sent up helicopters to begin with (this morning) so we could maybe narrow our search by getting a better idea of the location,” Schlosser said.

Email: tsullivan@stgnews.com

Twitter: @tracie_sullivan

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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