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Three Canyoneers Injured in Zion National Park

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avatar Three Canyoneers Injured in Zion National Park
July 26, 2010 12:49PM
All three were washed over a 40 foot drop and two of them were also washed over a 60 foot drop. All three were injured and were rescued by park rangers.

On Saturday afternoon a severe thunderstorm developed over Zion National Park dropping about an inch of rain in less than thirty minutes. Several canyons in the southern end of the park were reported to be flash flooding including Spry Canyon. Spry Canyon drains into Pine Creek and is visible from the switchbacks west of the Zion Mt-Carmel Tunnel.

One of the injured men used a headlamp to signal a distress call. An off duty Park Ranger travelling on the switchbacks reported seeing the flashing light at the top of the last rappel in Spry Canyon. He reported the flashing light and two rangers were sent to the location and discovered the injured men.

A helicopter was used to short haul the two most seriously injured men to air ambulances that then transported them to the Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George, Utah. The third man was assisted out by foot and then transported by ground ambulance to Dixie Regional Medical Center. The rescue effort involved 20 park personnel and three helicopters.

The weather report for Saturday, July 24, was for a 30 percent chance of afternoon thunderstorms and the U.S. Weather Service issued a moderate potential for flash flooding. This incident emphasizes the importance heeding the weather and flash flood potential reports and seriously considering the advisability of entering narrow canyons when rain and flash flooding are a possibility.
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