Rescue Helicopter

Chronicles of Lost and Found Hikers

Hiking is a favorite past time in the summer. Many people use hiking as a chance to connect with nature, to get away from the hustle and bustle of urban living and to test their hiking skills. Unfortunately, some hikers experience crisis while doing this summer activity. One of the most common predicaments is getting lost on the trail. What is worse is getting injured while hiking. The sustained injury will prevent the hiker from moving or in seeking help. Here is a list of successful search and rescue operations and the factors that made the operation successful.

  1. William LaFever was found alive in the Escalante desert by Utah Highway Patrol helicopter pilot Shane Oldfield. LaFever, a 28-year-old with autism had been missing for three weeks in July 2012 and was without food. Oldfield was thankful that he heeded the information that people with autism are drawn to water. As he flew over Escalante River, he saw LaFever waving his arms and he was saved. Oldfield said that they were able to find LaFever quickly because he was in the open and had stayed near the river instead of wandering off. If people will stay where they are supposed to be, rescue will be easier.
  2.  59-year-old Victoria Grover had set out on a six-mile-long day hike April 24, 2012 in the Dixie National Forest but became stranded after breaking her leg during a jump from a 4-foot ledge. She played mind games, recited poetry and prayed while waiting for rescuers to arrive. A piece of poncho kept her warm during the cold night and she was without food for four days in a Southern Utah wilderness. Rescuers found her holed up along a creek suffering from hypothermia. According to the report, authorities were able to locate Grover through a rental car agreement found in her room at a guest ranch where she was staying. The establishment notified the sheriff’s office when she failed to check out Thursday as scheduled.
  3. Evgenia Bruzulukova, 25, of Roy, and Jonathon Wilson, 28, of Portland, Oregon, set out Saturday on April 2011 on a hike through Subway, a popular yet treacherous part of the Southern Utah Park. Burzulukova and Wilson told rescuers they became trapped Saturday after finding themselves in an area where the water was deeper, colder and moving faster than they expected. The pair moved back up the canyon a short way but couldn’t climb up canyon walls so they decided to wait. Other hikers came upon them. Fortunately more experienced hikers come along and were able to help a total of nine hikers get across the deep pool of water by rigging a rope system. Bruzulukova and Wilson have been lost for three days already. Rescuers described the decision to wait for help as the best action rather than risk lives when you don’t have the skills, capabilities and equipment.
  4. Utah siblings Nathan and Allison Tollman went on a hike to Lone Peak on Thursday, April 5 of 2012, when they became disoriented and eventually wandered off the hiking trail. Rescuers were able to find the missing teenagers because they tried to call attention by singing. The teens were able to inform their mother through a phone call about their situation. Fortunately the rescue did not take too long. The two were found after five hours of being lost. They were cold and wet but unharmed. 

These hikers can be considered lucky. Other hikers who were lost and injured were found but lifeless already.

Christensen & Hymas reminds every hiker to take safety precautions. It is not a good to hike alone. If possible bring a phone, bring something to protect you from the cold and learn basic hiking survival tips.

If you have been hurt due to the recklessness and negligence of another, call us at (801)-506-0800 for a free consultation.

Photo courtesy of Raymond Shobe.