SPRINGDALE, Utah (ABC4 News) – Saturday afternoon, during a major winter storm, an Arizona man, who was visiting Zion National Park, had to be rescued after getting his leg stuck in quicksand.
A national park spokeswoman says the visitor was up the Left Fork of the North Creek, also known as The Subway Route. She says his leg was buried up to his knee and he was unable to free himself.
A companion he was with left him with warm gear and clothing and hiked for three hours until she was able to get cell phone service and call 9-1-1.
The Zion Search and Rescue team suited up and started hiking to locate the man, but they first came in contact with the man’s companion and treated her for hypothermia.
After several hours of hiking, park rangers located the man stuck in the quicksand. They tried to free his leg for two hours and were finally able to do so late into the night. Once he was free, rangers treated him for hypothermia and treated his leg. The group had to stay the night due to the winter conditions and woke up to four inches of snow.
Sunday morning, the Utah DPS helicopter made its way to the area from Salt Lake City, but due to the winter storm, they were grounded for most of the morning. Finally, in the afternoon, a break in the storm happened, and the helicopter was able to get to the man and hoist him to safety. An ambulance was waiting for the victim and he was taken to the hospital.
“Winter conditions at Zion National Park can be extreme, especially in the higher elevations. Colder temperatures, shorter days, snow, ice, and cold run-off can make easy hikes difficult and strenuous ones treacherous,” says Aly Baltrus, Zion’s Public Information Officer. “Visitors are advised to use extreme caution during poor weather events at Zion. Presidents’ Day Weekend is often dry, warm, and sunny. This year was as predicted- cold and wet.”