Sandy officials reminding hikers to stay safe this summer

SANDY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Over 600 people used the trails and trail heads over the Labor Day weekend and in the last two weeks, two people have required rescuing.  Now officials are reminding hikers to be careful this summer.

It seemed like a short leap for Mansour Arizand.

“You say, ‘Wow, I can do it, it’s only jumping from here to there but not realizing how swift that water is, if you fall, you’re gone,” said Arizand.

Back in 2010, Arizand took a Father’s Day hike at Bells Canyon.  Though his gut told him, no, he jumped across the creek and fell 40 feet.  Luckily he survived to tell the tale, but not without suffering serious injuries.

“My arm was detached and moved to my back so when I looked I thought I only had one arm,” he said.

His pants got stuck on a log and was able to cling onto it before some bystanders were able to get to him and help move him just a little.  Unfortunately, they couldn’t get him out.

It took search and rescue crews over six hours before.

Signs at the foot of the trail warn hikers of the dangers they can face.  And Sandy officials want to remind hikers to be safe this summer.

“We’re up here a lot and spend a lot of our resources on hikers that get injured here,” said Sandy Battalion Fire Chief Chris Dawson.

Apart from countless injuries on the trail there have been two deaths over the last five years, and much like Arizand’s rescue, it can take hours before crews can reach a person, even in ideal conditions.

“The resources it takes to get somebody off the mountain that’s hurt.  It’s about a five hour operation if we have to hike them out,” said Sandy Fire Chief Bruce Cline.

Currently, there are 25 trained members of the Salt Lake County Search & Rescue Team – all of which are volunteers – which help keep the costs down for rescues.  However, officials will be weighing the issue as rescue mission increase from a taxpayer point of view.  On average, it can cost $1,000 per hour to operate a rescue helicopter.  Typically, it requires at lest twenty people from several agencies to take part in a rescue. It also takes about two firetrucks out of commission to help with the rescue.

Now with the heat setting even be sure to come prepared wit water and protective clothing.  Also be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen and carry a whistle, flashlight, or something to start a fire should you need to get a signal out for help.

“Let other people know where they’re going.  Let them know when they expect to be back.  Bring water, bring food, bring whatever gear you might need if you have to spend the night and certainly a charged cell phone,” said Search and Rescue Team Commander, Alan Bergstrom.


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