Hikers rescued after being stranded for 18 hours at Kanarraville Falls

Southern Utah

KANARRAVILLE, Utah (ABC4 News) – Search and Rescue crews in Iron County saved two hikers stranded overnight at Kanarraville Falls.

Officials say a 46-year-old man and a 45-year-old woman left at 1 p.m. Thursday to hike from the top of the falls area to the bottom.

Deputies with the Iron County Sheriff’s Office were notified by a homeowner around 9:50 p.m. Thursday that a car had been parked for several hours on his private property near the entrance of the trail.

“The hikers left a car in the parking lot of the trailhead and another vehicle up to the top, and that’s not a typical area for someone to enter as it’s private property,” Sheriff’s Lt. Del Schlosser said.

With the use of night vision and a helicopter from Southern Utah University’s aviation program, crews were able to pinpoint the two hikers in a slot canyon.

Authorities say the pair had descended the first rappel of six into a 200-foot hole in the canyon and removed their rope so they had no way to get out. The hikers lacked the proper equipment for the rappel and had no food and limited water, according to Schlosser.

“The hikers were not prepared for the overnight stay they endured, and from beginning to end, they were there for about 18 hours,” Schlosser added. “We suspect temperatures down in the slot canyon with a bit of water were in the 20s.”

Team members hiked in and found the pair in good condition, extract them from the area around 8:35 a.m. Friday — a rescue that crews describe as difficult and exhausting, lasting more than 12 hours.

Along with two SUU pilots, resources included four deputies from the Iron County Sheriff’s Office, six members from the Iron County Search and Rescue, and 2 members from the Iron County ropes rescue team, officials said.

“They’re in good spirits, just a little hungry and dehydrated from the lack of water,” Schlosser said. “We just recommend if you’re going in the backcountry to make sure you tell people where you’re going and keep in contact with them.”

With many repels and ropes, authorities say Kanarraville Falls has become a common location for individuals to become injured or stranded in recent years. Hikers need a permit for the 5-mile roundtrip trail, which is limited to 150 people each day. Schlosser said the real danger comes from drastic temperatures changes this time of year, the inaccessible terrain, and the possibility of flash flooding in the slot canyons.


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