Stranded Family Rescued by Emery County Team



Press Release

Emery County Search and Rescue (SAR) was called out on Sunday afternoon to search for a missing family in the Goblin Valley/Little Wild Horse Canyon area.

A family of four from the Salt Lake area had pitched a tent at the Little Wild Horse Canyon trailhead on Friday evening and spent the day hiking on Saturday. The family became lost and was forced to spend the night in the wilderness. Although the family had some food and water with them for a day hike, they did not have enough to stay overnight. Daytime temperature was nearly 100 degrees.

Early Sunday morning, the father left his family to try to find help. He made it to Goblin Valley State Park around 5 p.m. Sunday and reported that his 40-year-old wife and two sons, ages 13 and 7, were lost and stranded. ECSO dispatched Emery County SAR and the State DPS helicopter. The DPS helicopter picked up an Emery County SAR member at the Sheriff’s Office to aid in the search, and another SAR member hauled the Jet A fuel trailer to the scene for helicopter refueling.

State Park Ranger Nathan Martinez and the father began a road search with lights and sirens in hopes of alerting the missing family members. Around 7 p.m., Ranger Martinez received word that the 13-year-old boy was at Goblin Valley State Park Ranger Station, having been found by some hikers. Because the father and son had conflicting stories and were confused as to where they had been, searchers regrouped to try to determine the correct location for the search.

Around 8:30 p.m., the DPS helicopter picked up the father and flew him to the area where he believed he left his family. The father could not determine the location. Meanwhile, five Emery County SAR members were searching by motorcycle, focusing their efforts on Bell Canyon and Little Wild Horse Canyon.

SAR members James Byars and Brett Guymon picked up a set of tracks in the bottom of a wash in an area that is off the main hiking trail. After losing the tracks, they got off their motorcycles and searched by foot while loudly calling out.

Even though there was a strong breeze and calls were echoing off the canyon walls, they were able to hear a faint sound. Guymon climbed to the top of a bench to see if he could determine where the sound was coming from. A few minutes after midnight, Guymon advised that he could hear the missing woman and child and knew their location, but he could not see them.

Guymon and Byars then used strobe flashlights to guide the State DPS helicopter to the site. The helicopter landed around 1 a.m. and transported the missing hikers to the Ranger Station where the family was reunited. An ambulance on scene treated them for dehydration but they were not transported.

Another successful rescue effort by Emery County SAR, State Parks, the State DPS helicopter crew and Emery County EMS!

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