A California man was rescued Sunday after falling from a cliff and languishing for two days without water or treatment for his diabetes at The Wave rock formation in southern Utah.
The man, 62, received a permit to hike The Wave on Friday, said Kane County sheriff’s Sgt. Alan Alldredge. On Saturday, a BLM employee noticed the man’s car still at the trailhead and called the man’s wife, who said she hadn’t heard from him since Thursday, Alldredge said. The couple lives near Los Angeles.
Two helicopter crews flew over The Wave late Saturday and early Sunday in search of the man; rescuers on foot and horseback began searching at dawn Sunday, Alldredge said.
One searcher approached The Wave from the south. Just as he was turning to go back to the trailhead, he noticed two legs sticking out from a bush, Alldredge said. The victim was alive but minimally responsive, Alldredge said. He was able to answer yes and no questions with gestures. Rescuers learned that he had fallen about 30 feet and landed in the bush, Alldredge said. It wasn’t clear whether his disorientation was caused by dehydration or diabetes.
A medical helicopter flew the man to Flagstaff, Ariz., where he remained under intensive care on Monday, Alldredge said.
The man had suffered no broken bones or traumatic injuries doctors could identify, Alldredge said.
It is not clear whether a medical condition such as diabetes or dehydration contributed to the fall.
The Wave is a permit-restricted area in Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, near the Arizona border. Three hikers died there last summer while hiking in extremely high temperatures. The trail is about 6 miles round trip. Twenty hikers are allowed to visit The Wave each day.
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