Search and rescue crews faced difficult challenges in rescue of injured 16-year-old boy


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SPANISH FORK — A group of teenagers were climbing up rocks at a hiking spot in Utah County when a large boulder broke loose and struck a 16-year-old boy on Friday. The boy suffered a broken femur, according to the Utah County Sheriff's Office.

Sgt. Spencer Cannon, with the sheriff's office, said the group was climbing rocks in Red Ledges, a popular trail on Diamond Fork when the incident occurred. It's unclear what caused the boulder to come free.

A Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter was called out to hoist the boy out. Cannon said a helicopter rescue is not uncommon for rescues in Red Ledges, but they don't see circumstances involving falling debris in that area often.

While the boy was located not too far from the entrance of the trail, the rescue posed several challenges for crews.

"The terrain was so steep and (the boy) was in pretty bad shape," Cannon said. "Any slight movement at all was extremely painful for him."

He said there were concerns the boulder or other rocks could fall. It was also challenging for the helicopter pilot.

"It creates essentially a temporary windstorm right in the area because of the helicopter," Cannon said, adding Utah County Search and Rescue crews have been busy in the last week.

"It's been a dozen and a half, or so, maybe 18 or 20 calls," he said. And while not all of those call have been serious, Cannon hopes hikers and climbers take extra precautions. He reminds everyone that search and rescue crews are trained to help.

"They are very good at what they do," Cannon said.

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Brianna Chavez
Brianna Chavez joined the KSL-TV news team as a reporter in July of 2023. She comes to the Beehive State after working for five years in her hometown of El Paso, Texas.

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