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Hiker dies, another rescued in Utah canyon

Published June 19, 2014 7:10 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A Weber County crew has recovered the body of a backpacker who died a few miles from Causey Reservoir.

Duane Savage, 46, and his family started hiking Wheatgrass Canyon from the reservoir on Monday, with the intent of being picked up at the top. But it appears they did not account for the storm that rolled in Tuesday, said Weber County Search and Rescue Sgt. Brandon Toll.

About 4.5 miles into Wheatgrass, Savage was seemingly suffering from diabetes complications and cold exposure and could not leave his tent, Toll said. While his wife stayed with him, their daughter and another relative started hiking out of the canyon Wednesday morning to find help.

After 8 to 9 hours, they finally found phone service by 5 p.m. that day.

A medical helicopter arrived and hoisted the wife out of the canyon, but Savage had died. The crew had to call off the recovery of his body for the night on Wednesday.

The trail at that point in Wheatgrass Canyon has not been maintained for several years, so "when it gets to a certain point … it disappears," Toll said. "With the dark conditions and cold temperatures, it was really too risky to continue on that late."

Crews returned Thursday morning and removed the body from the canyon by mid-afternoon with the help of a Department of Public Safety helicopter.

mmcfall@sltrib.com

Twitter: @mikeypanda