SPRINGDALE, UT – Three separate search and rescue (SAR) events occurred simultaneously yesterday in Zion National Park. The first began Tuesday night, June 13, 2017 and carried over into Wednesday June 14, 2017, followed by two separate calls for medical assistance.
Tuesday night, U.S Park Rangers received a report of a visitor who had fallen from a tree and injured his ankle on the Wildcat Canyon Trail three miles from his vehicle. Park Medics responded to the hiker’s location and provided medical care throughout the night. A SAR team carried the patient back to the trail head the following morning.
While the SAR team was carrying the injured hiker back to the Wildcat Canyon trail-head, dispatch received a call that a man on the West Rim Trail (Angel’s Landing access trail) was experiencing shortness of breath and needed medical attention. Park Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) responded. As the EMTs were hiking to the patient’s location, an Interpretive Ranger on scene reported that the man collapsed and CPR was in progress. A Park Medic, additional EMTs, Springdale Utah Medics, and a Rescue Team were also dispatched to the West Rim Trail. Park and Springdale EMS personnel continued CPR attempting to resuscitate the patient. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to revive the patient, CPR efforts were terminated. The National Park Service and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the fatality.
During the emergency on the West Rim Trail, dispatch notified command that a second male subject was complaining of chest pain and difficulty breathing on the Emerald Pools Trail. A different Park Medic and Rescue Team responded to the location and provided care. The individual was carried by litter to the trail head, and then transported by Life Flight to Dixie Regional Medical Center, where he is recovering.
While Park Rangers and SAR staff are expert at dealing with these emergencies, their availability may be limited under multiple incidents. Visitors should be aware of the steep terrain, temperature extremes, and essential gear in order to protect themselves. When planning your visit, take the time to know conditions, understand your abilities, and don’t take unnecessary risks. “Our hearts are heavy for the loss of one of our visitors today,” comments Jeff Bradybaugh, Park Superintendent.