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Helicopter crew comes to aid of hiker stuck in quicksand at freezing Zion National Park in Utah

Helicopter crew comes to aid of hiker stuck in quicksand at freezing Zion National Park in Utah

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By ADAM FORGIE, KUTV

ZION NATIONAL PARK (CIRCA via KUTV) — Zion National Park search-and-rescue crews spent the night in a snowstorm after rescuing a man who got stuck in quicksand.

The daring rescue via helicopter was caught on video.

On Saturday, Zion dispatchers received a report of a 34-year-old man from Arizona who got his leg stuck in quicksand.

"He was located approximately 3 hours up the Left Fork of the North Creek, also known as The Subway route from bottom-up," Aly Baltrus with Zion National Park said in a news release. "His leg was buried up to his knee and he was unable to free himself. He had hiked the Left Fork Trail with a companion, also from Arizona, when he became stuck. He and his companion tried to free his leg and were unsuccessful. His companion left him with warm gear and clothing and hiked to call for help. It was approximately 3 hours until she got cell phone service and was able to call 911."

A search-and-rescue team was assembled to locate the man and his female companion. Crews first found the woman and provided her with aid, because she was showing signs of hypothermia.

Several hours later, crews found the man, who was still stuck in the quicksand and also showing signs of hypothermia. Crews tried for two hours to free the man from the quicksand, and were finally able to do so late Saturday night.

Because it was so late, search-and-rescue crews spent the night with the patient in frigid conditions where 4 inches of snow fell.

"The next morning, the Utah DPS helicopter responded from Salt Lake City," Baltrus said in the release. "The ongoing winter storms in the area decreased visibility for aircraft all morning. Only after a small break in the weather occurred in the afternoon, the DPS helicopter was able safely extricated the patient with a hoist rescue operation. The patient was transported to an awaiting ambulance and transported to the hospital."

The man who was stuck in the quicksand and his companion are expected to be OK.

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