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Utah hiker found four days after falling in a tunnel

Published September 2, 2012 12:02 am

Rescue • Man splints broken leg, crawls out of hole and is spotted by passing motorist.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated.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 hiker was rescued Saturday after he says he fell into a tunnel, splinted his broken leg and crawled out four days later.

The 33-year-old man and a friend were hiking in the foothills on the east side of Salt Lake City when they parted ways, said Utah Highway Patrol Agent Mary Kaye Lucas. While on his own, the man fell into a tunnel near the mouth of Parleys Canyon, where northbound Interstate 215 and westbound Interstate 80 meet.

The fall broke the man's lower leg, leaving part of the bone sticking out. He splinted his leg with some wood and his jacket, then tried shouting for help from inside the tunnel. He could not phone for help because his cell had died shortly before he fell in, Lucas said.

By Saturday afternoon no help had come, and the man crawled out on his own, which took about two hours.

The tunnel opens out to the junction of I-215 and I-80. A passing driver called 911 shortly before 5 p.m., after spotting the man on the side of the highway.

The man told emergency responders he had been in the tunnel for four days. He was taken in an ambulance to St. Mark's Hospital. Lucas said the man was in bad shape but was expected to be all right.

mmcfall@sltrib.com