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Hiker found dead after falling in American Fork canyon

Search and rescue crews have busy Labor Day weekend with 2 fatalities
Posted at 1:36 PM, Sep 05, 2022

AMERICAN FORK, Utah — A hiker was found dead over the weekend by search and rescue crews after he fell in "very rough terrain," officials report.

The man, later identified as 45-year-old Thomas James Rawe from Alpine, went hiking on the north side of American Fork Canyon when he called a friend at around 9 p.m. Saturday asking for water and to be picked up.

When the friend arrived in the area, they waited 30 minutes before calling Search and Rescue crews because Rawe still had not turned up.

Crews worked until 11 p.m. Saturday night and then resumed their search Sunday morning to search for the missing hiker.

They found the man in rough terrain Sunday morning, and discovered he had fallen and been killed.

Officials told FOX 13 News the recovery operation took a few hours and involved a helicopter and a lot of equipment to get the body out of the area.

Another fatal hiking accident occurred Monday in Neffs Canyon in Salt Lake County, where a 22-year-old man fell about 30 feet and died from his injuries.

In an unrelated incident, Monday morning an 18-year-old girl fell while hiking in American Fork canyon and was knocked unconscious.

Officials said the girl was about 3.5 miles above Timpooneke Trail in the canyon when she fell. She was awake as search and rescue crews brought her down the trail using a wheeled stretcher.

A helicopter is expected to take her to the hospital and officials are optimistic about her recovery.

“A weekend like this, we expect to have more calls than we would typically have on a regular weekend," Sgt. Spencer Cannon said. "Especially Labor Day — it’s the last big hoorah for the summer and people getting out and enjoying themselves, and we encourage that.”

But there are some things hikers can do to avoid having the search-and-rescue teams called out to help them.

It’s recommended to take extra water, especially during this heatwave that has pushed into early September. Always tell others where you’re going, avoid hiking or climbing alone, and be prepared for your adventure with the appropriate equipment.

“There’s so much to do up there, and it is close and so easy to get to, that these kinds of things are going to happen," Cannon said. "We try to encourage people to be careful but I don’t know that it’ll ever stop.”

The American Hiking Society shares "10 essentials of hiking" to help keep hikers safe on the trails.