Tourists rescued when rising temps cut mountain bike ride short

Washington County Life Flight helicopter based at Dixie Regional Medical Center, St. George, Utah, April 17, 2016| Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

WASHINGTON COUNTY — Search and rescue teams located a family of four visiting from Denmark after the father called 911 to report his daughter was suffering a heat-related illness while mountain biking Friday afternoon near Hurricane.

Hurricane Valley Fire and Rescue EMT's hiking back to command post after assisting with successful rescue of family near J.E.M. Trail, Hurricane, Utah, July 15, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
Hurricane Valley Fire and Rescue EMT’s are seen hiking back to a command post after helping in the rescue of a child overcome by the heat on a mountain biking tour of the area near Hurricane, Utah, July 15, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The family’s mountain bike trip was planned out after the group rented mountain bikes and looked through maps of the trails in the area, Washington County Undersheriff James Standley said.

“They bought a map and set out to complete a mountain bike tour,” Standley said.

The route chosen, the Jem Trail and Hurricane Rim, includes two segments of a 21-mile loop in the Hurricane Cliffs Trail Network.

At some point one of the children, a girl, either became injured or incapacitated from what appeared to be the heat, Standley said.

“It’s possibly heat-related,” he said, “we just don’t have enough information to make that determination at this time.”

Once the girl was unable to continue on the trail, her father called 911. Officers quickly responded while a Washington County Search and Rescue team assembled and was sent into the remote area to rescue the group.

Meanwhile, a command post was set up near the trails, Standley said, and a Life Flight helicopter was launched to transport the young girl to the hospital.

Group assembles at command post set up after family of four is rescued near J.E.M. Trail, one transported Life Flight, Hurricane, Utah, July 15, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
A group of rescuers assembles at the command post after a family of four is rescued when one of the children falls ill during a mountain bike ride near Hurricane, Utah, July 15, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Once the family was located, rescuers assisted the father and his son back to the command post while the young girl was transported by Life Flight to Dixie Regional Medical Center. The mother remained at her daughter’s side and flew with her to the hospital.

The family visiting from Denmark may not have realized how hot it could become out on the trail, Standley said, and they may not be used to such extreme temperatures where they are from.

“It’s 100 degrees now,” Standley said, “and that type of heat just sucks the water right out of a person.”

Plans were made to take the two remaining family members to join those already at the hospital.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Hurricane Police Department, Washington County Search and Rescue, Intermountain Life Flight and Hurricane Valley Fire and Rescue responded to the scene.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.


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  • Rex July 16, 2016 at 8:33 am

    I like this story because it has an upbeat happy ending and it also gives a heads up about hiking in hot weather.

    Rex Bush

    Ed. ellipsis

  • Brugh July 16, 2016 at 9:10 am

    Awesome job Search and Rescue, ya’ll are amazing!

  • Chris July 16, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    Yeah, but it’s really a story of stupidity on the part of tourists who don’t have any concept of the hazards they face when doing any outdoor activity in the middle of July in this community. If I took off on a bike trip in Denmark, I would certainly check on what the locals consider unwise behavior.

  • Bender July 17, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    Those crazy Dutch.

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