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Father, 2 young sons survive 3 days stranded in canyon


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GARFIELD COUNTY — A Payson father and his two young sons were rescued Saturday after being stuck in Sandthrax Canyon for three days, according to the Wayne County Sheriff's Office.

Jason Knight, 35, and his two sons, ages 8 and 11, embarked on what they thought would be a 5-hour hike Wednesday, but said they became stuck after entering the wrong canyon. The Wayne County Sheriff's Office was notified the trio was overdue Friday, officials said.

The family was originally believed to be in the Robbers Roost area, but investigators found their car at Sandthrax Canyon in Garfield County. Knight last contacted his wife Tuesday evening after they arrived in Hanksville to camp in the area, according to the sheriff's office. He told her they would return Friday.

Knight intended to spend the day with his sons in nearby Leprechaun Canyon, but accidentally ended up in Sandthrax Canyon instead, he told the "Today Show." He said they didn't have the right ropes to leave the canyon.


I knew if my boys stayed on top they would find them because they were in an open spot, and I knew if they found them they would eventually find me.

–Jason Knight


The boys became separated from their father Wednesday when he tried to hike out of the canyon to get more equipment, investigators said. Knight became trapped by tight canyon walls at the bottom of the canyon and wasn't able to make it out, according to the sheriff's office.

Knight had instructed his sons to stay where they were on a ledge to prevent further incident, investigators said. They said the boys survived by rationing a granola bar and a small amount of water, which ran out Wednesday.

A helicopter crew located the two boys just before noon Saturday, according to the sheriff's office. Knight was located by the helicopter crew 150 feet away from his sons 30 minutes later, according to the sheriff's office.

"The helicopter was definitely a good sound," Knight told the "Today Show." "I knew if my boys stayed on top they would find them because they were in an open spot, and I knew if they found them they would eventually find me."

The boys were extracted from the canyon at 1:45 p.m. by the Wayne County Sheriff's Office Search & Rescue High Angle Rescue Team. Their father was safely extracted at 4:26 p.m., according to the sheriff's office. He was 350 feet down at the bottom of the canyon.

The two boys were dehydrated and complained of cramps but are expected to recover, according to the sheriff's office. They said the father appeared to be fine.

Knight said the family is doing well and trying to get rehydrated.

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Natalie Crofts

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