SPANISH FORK — A teen was critically injured when he fell about 65 feet from an aqueduct near Spanish Fork River Park late Thursday night, authorities said.
Emergency crews responded about 11:30 p.m. to a report of fall near the park, which is located north of Thistle in the southeast part of Spanish Fork. The 18-year-old was with a group hiking in the area when he fell, Utah County Sheriff's officials said.
A search and rescue team responded to the scene. However, because of where he fell, it was difficult for crews to reach him by vehicle or helicopter, according to Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Peter Quittner.
"He was in a tough area — to get to, tough to access," he said.
It took about 90 minutes for crews to rescue the man, who suffered abdominal and head injuries. He was flown in critical condition via medical helicopter to a hospital, officials said.
According to the sheriff's office, medical responders said the man possibly suffered a collapsed lung, broken ribs, a fractured skull, possibly a broken hip, and multiple lacerations.
The area where the man fell is closed off, and the group wasn't supposed to be there, Quittner added. He advised hikers to refrain from going into areas that are closed off.
"Be aware of where you're going. If you're not supposed to be there, stay out," Quittner said. "It's not worth it."
There are "No Trespassing" signs in the area, Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon said in a statement. He noted most of the signs were destroyed or knocked down, but the gates and enclosures "are obviously designed to exclude intruders."
"The Utah County Sheriff's Office admonishes those who would consider engaging in illegal activities such as this to consider the very serious risks to the life and health of those involved," he said in the statement.
In 2012, another young man died after falling from the same tunnel. Ammon Latham, 21, of Orem, fell about 80-100 feet and died as a result of his injuries.
Contributing: Meghan Thackrey, KSL TV; Lauren Bennett, KSL.com