Iron County crews rescue 2 snowmobilers lost in fog, darkness

Photo: Chantry Brindley/Iron County Search and Rescue

PARAGONAH, Utah, Feb. 7, 2023 (Gephardt Daily) — Search and rescue crews assisted a man and woman who became lost in the fog and darkness Monday while snowmobiling in Iron County.

The Iron County Sheriff’s Office and volunteer search and rescue teams responded at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday to a report of two lost snowmobilers near Yankee Meadow Campground south of Paragonah, according to a Facebook post from Iron County Search and Rescue.

Deputies located the lost snowmobilers’ truck and trailer on state Route 143, according to the sheriff’s office.

The man and woman “were unfamiliar with the area and became lost. The individuals were able to contact family before their cell phone batteries died to let them know what occurred,” the post states.

“They had been riding their snowmobiles when the evening hours set in along with fog. The reduced visibility made it impossible for them to follow their tracks back to their vehicle.”

The snowmobilers were prepared to spend the night outdoors, according to the sheriff’s office.

They found shelter under trees to shield them from wind and precipitation. They had flashlights, food, water, fire starters and a space blanket,” the post states.

To help fuel the fire, the man and woman tipped the snowmobile on its side and used the top of a water bottle to collect gasoline, according to the sheriff’s office.

Search and rescue teams initially were directed near Panguitch Lake, using the snowmobilers’ last known location from a cellphone ping. The man and women were located at 2:51 a.m. about 3.5 miles away near Yankee Meadow Campground, the sheriff’s office stated.

“[The] lost individuals heard and saw the snowmobiles and flagged them down using their flashlights,” the post states.

The man and woman were in “good health” and were able to follow search and rescue volunteers back to their vehicle, according to the sheriff’s office.

We are extremely grateful to have a fortunate outcome in this search,” the post states. “The individuals were well prepared for their adventure but … they became quickly disorientated due to the darkness and fog.”

The sheriff’s office encourages those recreating in the outdoors to “let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return home.”

“Had these individuals not had cell phone coverage to notify someone of their situation, there could have been a different outcome. If you plan to recreate in areas with limited reception, you might consider a satellite device,” the post states.


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