Hiker dies from likely heat exposure in Kane County outback

Photo Courtesy: BLM

KANE COUNTY, Utah, July 31, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — A hiker has died of possible heat exposure after becoming lost near ‘The Wave’ area of Kane County, officials said.

A news release from Kane County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday afternoon said dispatch received a call about a lost hiker at approximately 7:05 p.m. Monday.

The female caller, who was at a motel in Kanab, said her partner, Christophe Pochic, from Belgium, and their 16-year-old son had hiked to ‘The Wave,’ a unique sandstone rock formation that draws visitors from around the world.

“She had received a call from her son that he became separated from his father,” the news release said. “The son stated to officers later that on the way back from The Wave, Christophe became disorientated and wanted to go the wrong way. The son went towards the trailhead to try and get some help. He located other hikers who helped him search for his father for about three hours.”

The father was believed to be in good health with no medical issues.

Kane County deputies responded to Wire Pass Trailhead where they were joined by a helicopter search team from Classic Aviation. Classic responded from Kanab Airport and had Kane County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue personnel on board.

At approximately 9:15 p.m., Pochic was located by two BLM personnel. They confirmed he was deceased. Classic Aviation then transported Kane County deputies to the scene to investigate and then transported Pochic to Kanab where he was transferred to a mortuary.

Pochic was then taken to the Utah Medical Examiner’s Office in Salt Lake City to establish an official cause of death.

“Initial on scene investigation would lead investigators to believe this to be a heat-related death,” the news release goes on. “Temperatures in Kane County have been extremely hot the last few weeks and we expect them to continue into August. By early afternoon, the slick rock areas around The Wave can prove to be deadly because of the extreme heat. When found, Mr. Pochic still had water.”

Officials said hikers in Kane County at this time of the year are encouraged to leave early and finish early or find ways to protect themselves from heat, and take a break in the middle of the day if possible.

“Our thoughts are with the family of Mr. Pochic at this difficult time as they return home to Belgium,” the news release concludes.



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