A barefoot woman and her dog were rescued from a Utah canyon after flash floods swept the duo at least 150 feet down the gorge, officials said.
“The subject reported that she had been caught in the flood and carried ‘150-200 feet’ down the canyon,” the Grand County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team posted on Facebook. “She stated that she heard the flood coming and tried to get to higher ground. She reached a sand bank above the creek with her dog, but the rising water eroded the sand, sending both her and the dog into the flood waters.”
The unidentified 38-year-old woman was rescued last Thursday night from the Mary Jane Canyon in Moab Utah, the sheriff’s team said. The woman managed to send an SOS alert on her iPhone, a feature that shares a person’s location information with emergency services.
The Grand County Sheriff’s office received the woman’s SOS message via text at 7:22 Thursday evening, but the alert only detailed the location, not the circumstances for the assistance request.
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“The standard text message with the service simply stated that the person with the device needed assistance. It contained geographic coordinates, but no information about the nature of the emergency. Grand County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue was notified and sent a team of hikers to start up the canyon,” the search and rescue team explained in its Facebook post.
Rescuers also deployed a Classic Air Medical helicopter to the scene, which searched from the trailhead to the canyon. The aircraft was able to spot the woman’s dog about two miles downstream from the original coordinates sent to authorities.
“The helicopter was unable to land in the canyon, but the crew relayed her position to the SAR ground team. Rescuers reached the woman about 1.5 miles from the trailhead at 9:25 p.m. She was uninjured,” the rescue team stated on Facebook.
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The stormy weather and flash floods caused the woman’s shoes to come off, and she began hiking barefoot to safety. When she initially sent her SOS message on her iPhone, the woman told rescuers she received a failed alert message and believed she was on her own to find safety.
“Believing that her SOS had not been transmitted, she began hiking down the canyon barefoot with her dog. Rescuers stated she was ‘covered in mud from head to toe’ when they reached her,” the rescue team stated.
A rescuer loaned the woman a pair of shoes and “everyone returned to the trailhead,” according to the rescue team.
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“Safety Tip: Please research your planned route thoroughly. Know the specific type of terrain you will encounter. Check local weather forecasts on the day of your trip. Thunderstorms build quickly and can flood canyons from many miles away,” the rescue team added.
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