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Man survives 100-foot fall in Zion National Park

By Robynn Garfield | Posted - Sep 3rd, 2013 @ 6:26pm

WASHINGTON COUNTY — A hiker has been hospitalized after falling 100 feet in Behunin Canyon in Zion National Park Monday morning.

The 33-year-old man from Arizona was hiking and rappelling with friends when he fell on the fifth of Behunin Canyon's nine rappels.

Rescue teams were able to extract the man from the slot canyon at 2:23 a.m. Due to the remote area and conditions, the Rescue Squadron 66 from Nellis Air Force Base was called in to help in the rescue. Search and Rescue officials said the man sustained severe injuries to his leg, hip, arm and head.

"Considering the weather, we were very lucky Nellis Air Rescue was able to respond," Chief Ranger Cindy Purcell said. "That and his helmet probably saved his life."

Purcell said the canyoneering party was well equipped for an extended day in the canyon with extra clothing, a first aid kit, a water filter, headlamps and a space blanket.

The Arizona man was transported to the University Medical Trauma Center in Las Vegas. His wife was with him at the time of the accident along with other members of their hiking party.

Behunin Canyon is a nine hour canyoneering route above the Emerald Pools. Witnesses said the victim was not tied in to rappelling gear at the edge of the canyon at the time of the fall.

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