LAMBS CANYON, Utah — Salt Lake County Sheriff's Search and Rescue, along with Unified Fire Authority and AirMed helicopter crews, rescued a man who was injured using a zip line Saturday afternoon.
The crews responded to Lambs Canyon — located about halfway between Salt Lake City and Park City up Parleys Canyon — where the man had failed to stop at the bottom of the zip line and crashed into the terminal platform.
His injuries included several broken ribs and a punctured lung.
“If they are in critical condition, that really steps that up quite a bit," incident commander Spencer Fowler said. "This one came in pretty critical.”
The man was stabilized by UFA and AirMed flight nurses while search and rescue teams developed an extraction plan.
The tricky terrain made it a very unusual extraction.
Originally, crews were planning to bring him down one side of the canyon and back up the other where the zip line started and access was easier, but that would have been dangerous — especially for someone in critical condition like this man.
“For us, it’s a lot easier just to bring straight up one way then down and back up the other side,” Fowler said.
They found a small road on private property above the crash site where they could hoist him up the mountainside.
Using a combination of techniques and several teams, the man was raised up a steep slope to the road, where he was then transported by truck then helicopter to a nearby hospital.
“We had one of the Unified Police vehicles up there, and they were able to set it on the hillside and connect to the front of it, then they could run two hauling systems side-by-side,” Fowler said.
Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue is an all-volunteer team which Fowler has been a part of for 17 years. He says it's always a good day when a patient is going to be okay and recover thanks to his team's efforts.
“Many of them come back with serious life lessons learned and lots of new experiences,” he said. "That part is very refreshing — to see the excitement that people take, in some cases feeling like they have a second lease on life.”