On the night of March 24, at approximately 7:20 p.m., Sgt. Rick Adams of the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office was advised by dispatch of two individuals who were stuck on a ledge near the Balance Rock area of Helper.
The male and female individuals were later identified as 20-year-old college students from USU Eastern. Due to the nature of the incident including time frame, location and terrain, Sheriff Jeff Wood requested that members of the Carbon County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team be paged out to locate and assist the ledged-in college students back to safety.
Carbon County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Commander, Steve Carlson and members Tony Collins, Ricky Collins, Kip Leonard, Paul Metelko, Kerry Jensen, Matt Wise, Melissa Lasslo, Billy Vigor, Jory Basso and Michael Peczuh responded to the page and after gathering the necessary equipment for a rope rescue, responded to 150 Ridgeway Street in Helper where the college students began their excursion.
After a quick briefing, Commander Carlson and his team responded to the Balance Rock area in attempt to locate the hikers. After hours of searching by foot, trucks and UTVs with no luck, it was determined that the missing hikers who could not see the lights of Helper were possibly stranded in the Box Canyon area, which could only be accessed by foot.
At approximately 1 a.m. on the morning of March 25, Search and Rescue members were able to hear the voices of the college students. With regular contact with Price Dispatch and their accurate GPS coordinates, Search and Rescue members located the pair at approximately 1:45 a.m. Due to the severity of the landscape including loose shell, poor footing, darkness and ledges, the Search and Rescue Team had to use their rope rescue equipment to safely descend off the ledges and down the mountain where they returned back to 150 Ridgeway uninjured at approximately 3:45 a.m.
Sheriff Jeff Wood would like to remind local hikers that when you set out on a hike, please be responsible and prepared. Always pack enough food and water as well as clothing, a fire source for heat if needed, flashlight, cell phone, rescue and emergency blanket and please let someone know where you are going and when you plan on returning.
The Carbon County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank and acknowledge the members of our Search and Rescue Team for their rapid response, professionalism and willingness to train on a regular basis to assist our community when needed. We would also like to thank Price Dispatch for all of their assistance.
Sheriff Jeff Wood would also like to remind our community that our Search and Rescue Team is made up of local volunteers who train on a monthly basis. To support our team, please remember that the Carbon County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Demolition Derby will be held on August 12, 2017.