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Rescuers pull Arizona man from quicksand at Zion National Park

Updated February 18, 2019 - 12:03 pm

An Arizona man was rescued from quicksand at Zion National Park over the weekend.

Park dispatchers received a report Saturday afternoon that a 34-year-old man was trapped in quicksand about three hours up the Left Fork of the North Creek route, also known as the Subway route, according to a news release.

The man’s leg was buried up to his knee, and he and a hiking partner were unable to free it. Another partner left him with warm gear and clothing and began hiking so she could call for help.

It took about three hours until she got cellphone service and was able to call 911.

Zion’s search-and-rescue team located the man after several hours. They found him in stable condition but suffering from exposure, hypothermia and unspecified injuries to his leg.

“Search and rescues are fairly common at Zion,” park spokeswoman Aly Baltrus said. “Teams are put together rather quickly … they train together regularly to ensure they can respond when needed. However, remoteness and weather conditions, such as in this case, can cause long delays.”

It took the team about two hours to free the hiker from the middle of a creek.

Rescuers began to warm the man and treat his leg, but they were forced to spend the night with the man in frigid conditions. The area received about 4 inches of snow overnight, the release said.

The man was taken by helicopter and ambulance Sunday afternoon to a hospital.

If caught in quicksand, staying calm is key, Baltrus said.

“Do not panic or continue sudden movements,” she said. “Slow movement, on the other hand, may help increase its viscosity and reduce suction.”

Baltrus said winter weather conditions can make easy hikes more difficult and difficult ones more dangerous.

“Visitors are advised to use extreme caution during poor weather events at Zion,” she said.

No update was available on the man’s condition.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at leggen@reviewjournal.com. Follow @LukasEggen on Twitter.

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