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Ropes and dish soap free woman wedged in slot canyon for 12 hours

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GREEN RIVER, Emery County — A woman wedged in a slot canyon for more than 12 hours was rescued Thursday thanks to the hard work of rescuers — and about a gallon of dish soap.

The rescue began about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday when a man called the Emery County Sheriff's Office saying he and his 24-year-old wife were canyoneering in Zero Gravity Canyon in the San Rafael Desert and she became stuck, according to the sheriff's office. The woman tried to free herself for two hours before authorities were called.

Search and rescue rope team members and two helicopters responded to the area.

"The first rescuer on scene was able to make verbal contact with the woman. She was extremely distraught, in pain and was having difficulty breathing due to being wedged in," according to the sheriff's office.

"The woman was wearing a harness, so rescuers rigged a system to pull her out. However, she was wedged in so tightly that pulling on her was causing more pain," the sheriff's office stated.

After several attempts at getting her out, including having rescuers pushing her from the bottom while pulling her from the top, the group tried to rock her in a "seesaw motion" to free her.

"Additionally, a gallon of dish soap was poured around the woman, a technique that had been successful in a prior rescue in the same general area," according to the sheriff's office.

About 2 a.m. Thursday, after being trapped for about 12 hours, the woman was brought out of the canyon. During that time, one of the rescuers was in the canyon on a rope himself for nearly seven hours, sheriff's officials said.

The woman was flown to a local hospital.

Lindsey Hargrave, of West Jordan, who has numerous pictures on Facebook of her hiking in different areas around the state, indicated she was the one rescued in a humorous post.

"Oh hey, I'm famous! Reminder: don't eat fajitas before attempting a slot canyon or you will get wedged and end up in the ICU covered in dish soap," she posted.

Sheriff's deputies said this is the second rescue in Zero Gravity Canyon this summer. The first one was just 4 feet away from Wednesday's rescue.

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Pat Reavy


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