Missing Zion National Park hiker found after making calls to 911 and family, rangers say

Officials at Zion National Park were looking for John Fiske Burg, who had been missing since Tuesday, Sept. 28. (Zion National Park)



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SPRINGDALE, Washington County — A 79-year-old man who had been missing since Tuesday called 911 and his family before he was located by Air Force airmen flying over Zion National Park on Saturday afternoon, park officials said.

Park rangers said airmen located John Fiske Burg above Lodge Canyon inside the park. The man was treated at the scene before being taken to a St. George hospital for further treatment.

Burg was reported missing after he was last seen leaving a La Quinta hotel in Kanab on Tuesday morning. He was staying with a group of about 50 hikers and told others he was considering hiking Canyon Overlook Trail. When he didn't return, they reported him missing to rangers at Zion National Park on Wednesday.

Search and rescue teams combed through the Canyon Overlook Trail the past few days. Then, on Friday, Burg made a 911 call to Washington County dispatch and was also able to leave a voicemail message to family members, park officials said. The next day, a team from the Nellis Air Force Base was able to find the man.

"These phone calls provided the (search and rescue) operations the insight needed to increase operations and target specific areas of Zion National Park," officials wrote in a statement. "The 911 call he made was critical and saved his life."

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