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Copter rescues 2 lost hikers

A teen, right, who was lost overnight with his dad, is hauled aboard helicopter in Deaf Smiths Canyon area.
A teen, right, who was lost overnight with his dad, is hauled aboard helicopter in Deaf Smiths Canyon area.
Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News

A LifeFlight helicopter lifted two hikers, who were lost overnight, to safety Monday after people in the valley heard a signal for help on a two-way radio.

Alex Arangua, 44, and his 16-year-old son had been hiking in the Deaf Smiths Canyon area between Big and Little Cottonwood canyons when they became disoriented and stranded at nightfall Sunday, said Salt Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Todd Griffiths.

"They sheltered up there for the night and weathered a pretty grizzly storm with thunder and lightning," he said.

The duo had been lost nearly 24 hours when they were rescued.

"Their provisions ran out and when they began feeling the symptoms of being dehydrated, they began using those little hand-held walkie-talkies to call for help," Griffiths said.

Workers at Glover Nursery in West Jordan heard their call from a two-way radio in the store and notified police.

Griffiths said police obtained similar walkie-talkies from one of the deputy's homes and were able to establish contact with the hikers on a common frequency.

"All they could tell us is that they were somewhere above Sandy," he said, noting a language barrier with the Hispanic hikers. Police continued talking with the hikers as they guided a helicopter to the location where they were believed to be.

Because the area was rugged, ground crews were unable to respond. However, a helicopter dropped medical personnel on the peak and hoisted the hikers out one-by-one.

The hikers suffered some dehydration and exhaustion symptoms but after getting drinks and some food at their drop-off point, at a park-and-ride location near 9000 South and Wasatch Drive, they signed a medical release and were able to return home without additional medical assistance.


E-mail: wleonard@desnews.com