Flash flooding results in 2 rescues of stranded hikers

Emergency crews respond after a group of hikers were caught in a flash flood in Buckskin Gulch, Kane County, Utah, July 29, 2017 | Photo courtesy Mica Church, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — As monsoon-type rains swept through Southern Utah over the weekend and into the beginning of the week, Kane County Search and Rescue crews responded to two separate incidents involving hikers caught in flash flooding.

A medical helicopter responds after a group of hikers were caught in a flash flood in Buckskin Gulch, Kane County, Utah, July 29, 2017 | Photo courtesy Kane County Search and Rescue, St. George News

In the first incident, a group of seven hikers became stranded in Buckskin Gulch Saturday evening after heavy rains hit the area and caused a large flash flood.

The group had been planning a five day excursion from the Wire Pass trailhead to Lee’s Ferry but only made it 8 miles into the route when they were caught in the deluge, according to a news release issued by Kane County Search and Rescue.

Kane County Sheriff’s Office received the call for help when an emergency beacon company relayed the hikers’ coordinates.

A helicopter from Classic Air Medical was dispatched to the area Saturday night and made visual and verbal contact with the hiking party, but crews were unable to reach them at that time.

“The party stated they had foot injuries due to the flash flood which prevented them from continuing,” the news release states. “Much of their gear was washed away including shoes.”

Emergency crews returned Sunday and safely extracted all seven hikers who were then transported to the hospital for medical evaluation.

Kane County Search and Rescue responded to a similar incident Monday evening when a group of six hikers got caught in another flash flood in the North Fork area.

Search crews responded to their call for help shortly before 6 p.m. on report that one of the hikers was injured.

“We had the state UHP helicopter come down, and they activated a spot locator, so the helicopter was able to fly right to them,” Kane County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Alan Alldredge told St. George News Monday.

The injured hiker was flown by Utah Highway Patrol to Hurricane Municipal Airport and then transported by ambulance to the hospital. The extent of the hiker’s injuries was unknown at the time this report was taken.

The rest of the hikers were helped back to the trailhead by responding rescue personnel.

“The monsoon season is upon us. KCSO and KCSAR would like to remind everyone to plan your trip accordingly and avoid areas that may have flash flood warnings,” the news release states. “Be safe out there.”

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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

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3 Comments

  • SteveSGU August 1, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    “The injured hiker was flown by Utah Highway Patrol to Hurricane Municipal Airport and then transported by ambulance to the hospital.”

    That seems dumb. Why didn’t they fly a few more miles to the heliport at the hospital? At least Kane County rescue personnel were willing to help outside of their boundaries.

    • comments August 1, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      my guess is the injury wasn’t life threatening or even severe. Probably a light enough injury it wasn’t even worth giving landing priority on the helipad.

  • mesaman August 1, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    Stranded hikers, injured climbers; this is becoming one of the four seasons of Southern Utah.

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