Emery County Search and Rescue puts responders at risk

Coronavirus Updates

Emery County Sheriff’s Office

EMERY COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Officials with the Emery County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched Friday to the Bell Canyon/Little Wildhorse Canyon loop area with reports of a woman and her 11-year-old son from Montrose, Colorado hiking when who had gone off-trail and got lost.

Officials say the woman was able to make a call from her cell phone, which provided GPS coordinates for rescuers. Rescue crews advised the two to stay put and await rescuers.

Rescuers said the woman had provisions but was dressed in shorts and t-shirts and didn’t have jackets or fire starters.

Seven members of the Emery County Search and Rescue team responded to the pair almost two hours away. They then used motorcycles and a side-by-side to reach the area where they then had to hike to rescue the pair. Rescuers came in from two directions, one from Mackay Flat and the other from Behind the Reef.

In the meantime, the woman contacted Emery County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center to advise them they would be wrapped in an emergency blanket under a tree awaiting rescuers.

Officials say when the pair were located, the hikers were asked to put on Tyvek suits, N95 masks, gloves and safety glasses as a precautionary protective measure for all involved during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related: Emery County confirms first case of coronavirus

Crews said they hiked out to the behind the Reef road and the mother and son were transported back to their vehicle to return to Hanksville where they were staying.

Officials added the State of Colorado is under a Stay-at-Home Order issued by Colorado Governor Jared Polis, and Utah’s Governor Gary Herbert has issued a “Stay Safe, Stay Home” directive. The woman told rescuers that she had called someone who told her it was okay for her to hike the trails in Emery County as long as she didn’t stay overnight.

The Emery County Sheriff’s Office said they encourage all to follow COVID-19 orders and directives across the nation without trying to bend the rules or find loopholes.

Over 49 man-hours were expended on this rescue and valuable resources were used, officials add. They ask that all do their part to help keep crews safe.

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