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Husband: Split-Second Reaction Of Friend, Possible Divine Intervention Play Role In Hayden Peak Rescue

SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah — A group of 4 friends was headed to the top of Hayden Peak Monday when something went horribly wrong, leading to a rescue that involved two helicopters equipped with hoists.

Paul Richins said his wife, Shari, was following him up a tight, steep chute in an area full of loose boulders when one of them came free.

“She came up right behind me and pulled a big boulder right over the top of her,” Richins said. “She went down and the boulder went with her.”

Their friend, Wade Meier, only had a split-second to react.

“Next thing I knew, she was coming down in front of me,” Meier said. “(I’m) not really sure what happened right then. I think somebody else other than me was there and stopped her, but I reached down and kind of caught her under the arm—which is good, because she would have gone a long way had I not caught her.”

The woman was still in need of medical attention, and Richins said it didn’t appear the group could get her off the mountain on their own.

As the other two in the group attended to his wife’s injuries, Richins said he continued to the top in search of cell service.

Though that service seemed elusive in the surrounding area, the man was somehow able to place a call to 911.

“(It’s a) miracle that we had cell service!” Richins said.

Summit County Sheriff’s Lt. Alan Siddoway said the department immediately dispatched Life Flight and Utah Department of Public Safety helicopters, both armed with hoists.

When the woman was brought down to the Highline trailhead, she was talking to rescuers while being loaded into an ambulance.

“Very fortunate, very fortunate,” Siddoway acknowledged.

The woman was taken to the hospital to have her injuries evaluated.

 

At the time, Richins did not believe his wife was seriously injured and he suggested some divine intervention may have come into play in the outcome.

“I believe that she was blessed that she didn’t get more hurt than she was,” Richins said. “She got through it. That’s why I believe in prayer even more.”

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