ST. GEORGE — A 7-hour rescue near Pine Valley ended when a hiker, who suffered a rattlesnake bite while recreating off of the Mill Canyon trail, was loaded into a helicopter and flown to the hospital for treatment early Tuesday morning.
The incident began with a 911 call from a hiker who reported to emergency dispatch that he suffered a rattlesnake bite when he stepped down from a rock and “surprised the snake,” Washington County Search and Rescue Liaison Sgt. Darrell Cashin said.
The hiker was located along the Mill Canyon Trail, which is about 25 miles from St. George off of Forest Service Road 255 near Pine Valley. The trail is nearly 10 miles long and has an elevation gain of 1,500 feet with towering cliffs and steep terrain that is littered with rough, jagged rock formations.
The hiker was scouting the area for archery practice when he suffered a snake bite on the lower calf of his leg. He also reported hearing nothing before the bite, “no rattle or any other sounds,” Cashin said, indicating the “snake was likely surprised and had very little time to react or send out the warning before it struck.”
He went on to say that fortunately, the hiker was also a paramedic, and minutes after the bite, he placed a tourniquet around his leg, not tight enough to stop blood flow completely, Cashin added, such as is the case in situations where an injury causes heavy bleeding, but tight enough to restrict the blood flow to slow the spread of the venom.