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2 hikers missing near Zion National Park found safe

By Pat Reavy and Ashley Kewish | Posted - Aug 26th, 2013 @ 10:49pm

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MOUNT CARMEL JUNCTION, Kane County — Two women missing since Sunday from an area around Zion National Park have been found alive.

The women were found Monday afternoon just two miles away from their car and were flown by helicopter to Kanab.

Christian Delahunty, 30, and Suzy Wheeler-Mang, 51, both from Salt Lake City, were spotted by a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter about 2:40 p.m.

"All of a sudden we had hikers come in from one angle and the helicopter come in from the other," Delahunty said. "All our prayers were answered."

They said they had endured several rain storms were able to gather enough water, but ran out of food. The women said at one point they feared they would die.

"You hear all these stories or people that go out unprepared," Delahunty said. "We were living that nightmare."

Wheller-Mang and Delahunty began hiking Thursday from an area south of Mount Carmel Junction and west of U.S. 89 in the East Fork of the Virgin River, according to the Kane County Sheriff's Office.

The friends describe themselves as sisters, and said they wanted to "get back to nature, get priorities straight."

They planned for a three-day, 30-mile hike but got lost in the canyons and ran out of energy. They were expected to hike to Checkerboard Mesa in Zion National Park on Sunday morning. They were reported missing Sunday night.

"I was a mess," Delahunty said. "The only things that were running through my head were my kids and my family that was worried."

Before the women left for their trip, they provided a detailed itinerary to their families, allowing search and rescue crews to zero in on where they believed the women to be.

The Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter assisted in the search Monday. The women were flown to Kanab to be checked out by medical personnel, and when they landed they hugged and thanked their rescuers.


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