Search and rescue crews retrieve body of man who died while camping

Posted at 5:56 PM, Jun 19, 2014

WEBER COUNTY, Utah -- Weber County search and rescue crews spent the day recovering the body of a man who died while camping near the Causey Reservoir.

Wednesday around 5 p.m., 29-year-old Brandy Smith limped into the Red Cliff Café, just a few miles down the road from the Causey Reservoir.

She needed to make an emergency call after leaving her mom and step-dad, Michelle and Duane Savage, at their campsite when Duane became sick. Cpl. Brian Jacobs of the Weber County Sheriff's Office said crews were dispatched to the couple.

“They flew in, were able to locate the individuals, were able to locate a medic down on their hoist, and the medic was able to confirm that one patient was deceased and one was able to be hoisted out,” he said.

LifeFlight was needed to reach the campsite, which was 8 miles from the reservoir. When the campers were located, Michelle was hypothermic, Duane, a diabetic, had died.

“The medic was able to check for a pulse, found that he was deceased and I don’t believe LifeFlight is able to hoist the deceased individuals; that person was left there for us to recover,” Jacobs said.

The rescue team was not able to reach the campsite Wednesday night, and it took most of Thursday to reach the body due to the rugged terrain.

“It’s very steep and rugged and several miles back, so we’ve used the horse team,” Jacobs said. “The horse team has been able to make it most of the way in, but they did have to abandon their horses and actually go on foot for the last little while.”

A Utah Highway Patrol helicopter was used to lift the body from the canyon Thursday afternoon. Officials said the dramatic shift in weather conditions could have played a role, and it’s always a good idea to pack for the unexpected.

“Jackets, food, fire--let people know when you’re gonna return so they know to call if there’s a problem or you don’t return on time, that kind of thing,” Jacobs said.