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Three hikers plucked from wilderness cliff in daring helicopter rescue

Published October 16, 2007 1:06 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Posted: 1:08 PM- ESCALANTE -- Three hikers stranded in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument since Sunday were plucked off a cliffside today, unharmed.

The Garfield County Sheriff's Department search and rescue team, assisted by the Bureau of Land Management, located the three -- identified as Fred Harsh, 32, of Lehi; Mike Macy, 30, of Clarkston, Mich.; and Brad Crawford, 29, of Annapolis, Md. -- and ferried them by helicopter to a nearby airport about 11:30 a.m.

The trio began their hike last Thursday in the monument's Death Hollow Canyon area. Macy said it soon became apparent, however, that they had gotten onto the wrong trail. The three found themselves hiking in a series of slot canyons and crossing several long pools of deep water.

"We were worried about hypothermia and drowning," Harsh added in an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune after he landed at the Escalante airport.

The three friends finally found themselves in an area where they could proceed neither up or down, so they scaled a 50-foot cliff for safety from potential flash floods on Saturday and began waiting for help.

Authorities were told the trio was overdue on Sunday, and a search began on Monday. About 5:30 p.m. Monday, a helicopter spotted bright clothing laid out by the men, and ground crews then rappelled down to them with food and water -- and to prep a landing area for the helicopter.

The helicopter flew in this morning, landing one skid on a ledge and opening the door for the three men to jump inside.

Authorities said none of the men was injured.




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