An Arizona man fell 100 feet in Zion National Park, and was in such a rugged area that rescuers called a U.S. Air Force base for help.
On 5 p.m. Monday, park rangers were notified of a serious fall in Behunin Canyon, a difficult, nine-hour canyoneering route above the Emerald Pools, according to a news release. It took almost seven hours for park medics to reach the man, at the bottom of the fifth of the canyon’s nine rappels.
The 33-year-old man had significant injuries to his head, arm, hip and leg after falling 100 feet without rope protection, the release adds.
“Witnesses reported that in another slot canyon, they advised the victim that he should be tied in near the edge,” according to the release. “In this instance, the victim was not tied in at the time of his fall.”
Because he was so badly hurt in such a remote location, a rescue squadron was called in to extract him that night. The Nellis Air Force Base rescuers removed him and his wife from the canyon by 2:23 a.m. Tuesday, just before another rain storm arrived.
He was taken to University Medical Trauma Center in Las Vegas.
“Considering the weather, we were very lucky Nellis Air Rescue was able to respond,” Chief Ranger Cindy Purcell said in a statement. “That and his helmet probably saved his life.”
Purcell added that the group seemed to be well prepared for an extended day, having brought with them extra clothing, a first aid kit, a water filter, headlamps and a space blanket.
The park medics spent the night in the canyon and hiked out by 1 p.m. Tuesday.