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Man survives night in E. Utah's cold high desert under sand

Published June 19, 2012 1:31 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A Parker, Colo., man says when he got lost in southeastern Utah's high desert and night fell, he survived the cold by burying himself in sand.

The Moab Sun News reported Tuesday that Jeffrey Rossi was spotted by a helicopter the morning of June 14 after having shivered through the night on a mesa above Culvert Canyon. He reportedly had left for a walk and a cigarette the night before from his family's campsite in the Metal Masher area.

The Grand County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue Team, assisted by the Utah Department of Public Safety aircraft, searched terrain consisting of dirt, sand, slick rock and several canyons before suspending efforts on June 13 with nightfall.

The search resumed the next morning, and Rossi was found, flown to Moab Regional Hospital to be checked out, and then released in good condition.

The Sun News reports that Rossi had intended to hike to the Colorado River, and when he became lost was able initially to build a fire and filter drinking water through his pants. He then buried himself in the still-warm sand for the night to ward off the cold.— Bob Mims