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Searchers find hiker in Little Cottonwood Canyon alive, well

Published July 11, 2012 2:15 pm

White Pine Trail • Salt Lake City woman went missing during outing with friends.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Following a massive two-day search-and-rescue effort in Little Cottonwood Canyon, a 55-year-old Salt Lake City woman was found alive and well on Wednesday. She had gone missing Tuesday afternoon during a mountain trail hike.

Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal confirmed that search and rescue workers had located Oknom Shim Han about 12:15 p.m. after she was spotted by other hikers, who then called 911.

"The hikers said they saw her about a mile up the [Red Pine Trail] and about 50 yards off to the side, sitting in some brush. They called out to her, but she didn't respond, so that's when they called [police]," Hoyal said.

Search and rescue workers soon found Han and walked her down to the White Pine Trailhead, which connects to the Red Pine Trail. She was checked out by medical personnel and then released to relatives who were waiting for her at the mountain location.

"She has a few scrapes but is otherwise in good condition," Hoyal said. "This was a happy outcome and she will be able to go home with her family."

Hoyal said Han "got disoriented" and separated from a group of friends and family she was hiking with when she disappeared about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. Han was hiking in the middle of the group. As the group split, it was around that time they last saw her, Hoyal said. It remains a mystery, for now, why she did not respond when the hikers who spotted her Wednesday called out to her, according to Hoyal.

Hoyal said family members also were perplexed, since Han was familiar with the area, which she and family had hiked before. He said police would interview Han later to learn more.

Searchers looked for Han most of Tuesday afternoon and well into the evening before being forced to suspend their search about 10 p.m. The effort resumed about 8 a.m. Wednesday with an estimated 70 people — including search personnel and family and friends — joined by dog teams and once more the DPS helicopter.

The trail area is about six miles up Little Cottonwood Canyon and roughly a mile south of Snowbird Ski Resort, which is about 25 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.

remims@sltrib.com