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Search crews rescue hiker with severe altitude sickness

By Geoff Liesik | Posted - Jun. 30, 2014 at 10:30 p.m.

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DUCHESNE — A Duchesne County search and rescue team, aided by a medical helicopter crew, came to the aid of a critically ill hiker Monday on the Highline Trail in the Uinta Mountains.

Authorities were notified just after 12:30 a.m. Monday that Tyler Cole Duffield had become ill and his condition was deteriorating, according to Duchesne County Sheriff's Chief Deputy David Boren.

Duffield, 28, and two friends had hiked from the Mirror Lake area along the Highline Trail to Black Lake, about 10 miles north of Upper Stillwater Reservoir. Duffield first became ill Sunday and gradually became more and more lethargic, Boren said.

"He was unable to walk more than a few feet at a time," the chief deputy said.

Late Sunday night one of Duffield's friends hiked back to the Mirror Lake area, where he called Duffield's wife and asked her to call search and rescue.

Boren said sheriff's deputies, search and rescue crews and a medical helicopter with Classic Lifeguard worked together, reaching Duffield about 7:30 a.m. Monday.

"He was transported by helicopter to Salt Lake Valley Regional Medical Center where he was diagnosed with severe altitude sickness," the chief deputy said.

Boren noted that the medical helicopter proved invaluable to the rescue effort.

"Duchesne County search and rescue was unable to access the area on horseback due to a rock slide on the Upper Stillwater Trail and snow fields on the Highline Trail passes," he said.

Duffield is expected to make a full recovery, Boren said.

Geoff Liesik


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