WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Search and rescue crews in Washington County say they haven’t been sleeping well in recent days as they responded to seven calls for rescues in a four day span of Thursday to Sunday, estimating more than 400 man-hours for their volunteers alone.
Sgt. Darrell Cashin, who oversees the Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, tells ABC4 News that brings the total to 57 rescues so far in 2020.
“Between May 1 and May 10, we had 10 rescues,” Cashin said. “They’re coming in almost every day, sometimes two a day.”
This weekend’s search and rescues included missing or lost hikers, boating issues, a medical assist of a man in Hurricane who died of potential cardiac issues, and the recovery of a body of a missing Washington County man who authorities believe had been dead for at least several days, according to officials.
Cashin anticipates calls continuing to increase over the next 4 to 6 weeks, until the temperatures become so hot that “people can’t stand to go outside.”
“It’s the fact that if we get them stacked on top of each other, where you’re running to one and then you get another, and then you get another, you start to run out of resources and manpower,” Cashin said. “I’m concerned about that.”
The liaison said his biggest concern is so many back-to-back rescues wearing down his volunteers. One of their rescues on Sunday required 28 volunteers, including K-9’s, a personal helicopter, and two drones.
Cashin anticipates his teams will break their yearly record and potentially respond to 150 rescues if they keep up the current pace. The current record is 132 rescues in Washington County in 2018.
“We’re not looking to be the county with the most,” Cashin said. “We want to be the county with the least.”
But he said he knows that with the high volume of people out recreating in Southwest Utah, unfortunately that will not be the case.