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Woman rescued from quicksand; hiker's body recovered

By Geoff Liesik | Posted - Jul 15th, 2014 @ 9:34am

MOAB — The Grand County sheriff's search and rescue team was called out twice last week — once to rescue a Moab woman stuck in quicksand and once to search for an overdue hiker from Minnesota who was found dead.

On July 9, crews began searching for a 78-year-old Moab woman after she failed to show up for a book review at the library, according to a statement from the sheriff's office. The woman had last been seen about 1:30 p.m. the previous day.

The woman is known to frequent a walking and bicycling path at Courthouse Wash just north of the bridge over the Colorado River, deputies said. Her car was found in the Courthouse Wash parking lot about 9 p.m.

Sheriff's search and rescue crews, joined by search teams from nearby Arches National Park, found the woman around 11 p.m. roughly a quarter mile up the wash, where she had "become mired in quicksand," deputies said.

The woman, whose name was not released, told crews she had been stuck since 9 a.m. on July 9. She was in good condition at the time she was found, according to the sheriff's office statement.

The following day, search teams were called out to look for Robert Berquist of Duluth, Minnesota, after the 66- year-old failed to return to Red Cliff Lodge from a hike, the sheriff's office said in a separate statement.

Berquist's sport-utility vehicle was found in the Fisher Towers parking area. Helicopters from the Department of Public Safety and Classic Lifeguard were called in to aid search teams on the ground.

Searchers found Berquist's body about 2 a.m. July 11 after following shoe tracks and discarded water bottles to his location, deputies said. The DPS helicopter assisted in recovering the man's body.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the cause of death, deputies said.

Geoff Liesik

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