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Two Short-Haul Rescues Conducted Over Two Days in Zion

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avatar Two Short-Haul Rescues Conducted Over Two Days in Zion
July 28, 2010 02:48PM
Zion National Park (UT)
Two Short-Haul Rescues Conducted Over Two Days

After much rigorous planning, training and implementation, the park launched its short-haul program with two missions on two consecutive days last week. On Friday, a 61-year-old man from Salt Lake City suffered an angulated ankle fracture while in the upper reaches of the Left Fork of North Creek, an area popularly known as “The Subway.” He was short-hauled out, transferred to an ambulance, and taken to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George, with ranger/paramedic Rob Wissinger as his attendant during the operation. On Saturday afternoon, a severe thunderstorm dropped an inch of rain in less than a half hour in some areas of the park, causing flashfloods in several canyons. One was Spry Canyon. The mouth of that canyon is visible from the switchbacks on the main park road. After the storm passed, an off-duty ranger reported seeing a flashing light at the top of the last rappel in that canyon. Two rangers investigated and found that three men had been flushed out of the canyon by the flood; two had been washed over 40-foot and 60-foot drops and a third had been washed over the 40-foot drop and was at the top of the 60-foot drop. Two of the three men had sustained potentially life-threatening injuries requiring immediate evacuation, so a short-haul operation was conducted. The two men were then transferred to two different Classic Lifeguard air-ambulances and flown to Dixie Regional Medical Center, where they underwent surgery. The third injured man was assisted out by foot, then transported by ground ambulance to the medical center. The rescue effort required the use of about 20 park personnel and three helicopters. Paramedic/rangers Wissinger and Brandon Torres were involved.
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