Rescuers brace for more snowy weather after dozens of hoists in early 2023

Mar 31, 2023, 12:27 PM | Updated: 12:29 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Newly released video documented a hoist rescue in Morgan County earlier in the week as rescuers on Thursday noted an extremely busy winter and expressed concerns about what spring might hold with more snow and wet conditions in the forecast.

“We’ve had a lot of snowmobile rescues, avalanches and then down in southern Utah slot canyons flash floods,” said Luke Bowman, chief pilot with Utah Highway Patrol and the Utah Department of Public Safety.

Bowman said there had been at least 37 hoists in the first three months of 2023, compared to just three in the first three months of 2022 — and 2022 ended up being a banner year for hoists for the DPS helicopter rescue crews.

On Friday, the Utah Avalanche Center rated the avalanche danger as “high” across northern Utah following the latest round of snow.

“There’s the potential to be very busy and for a lot more to come,” Bowman said.

On Monday, a man died after he was buried in a massive avalanche in Pole Canyon, northwest of Cedar Fort in Utah County.

On Tuesday, two people in a snowcat were buried by an avalanche in Morgan County.

On Thursday, Utah Highway Patrol released video from the helicopter used in Wednesday’s hoist rescue which successfully transported an injured man.

“Avalanches in and of themselves are always more intense,” said tactical flight officer Landon Middaugh, who was operating the hoist that day. “To have one in your backyard, though, it hit a little bit closer to home.”

When the helicopter arrived, Middaugh said crews were working to free an injured man.

“The victim was still trapped,” Middaugh said. “They were using all kinds of equipment to try to free him.”

Point-of-view video showed Sgt. Nick Napierski on the hook, securing the man and helping him as the crew lifted the two to safety and the man to waiting, urgent medical care.

Middaugh and Bowman, having witnessed numerous adverse circumstances related to weather, cautioned people to head to the backcountry prepared and urged them not to risk it in potentially hazardous conditions.

“You don’t always think that something can go wrong,” Middaugh said. “When it does, it goes really wrong.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

James Kimose, Farr West, celebrates his 101st birthday in Ogden on Sunday. Kimose is a WWII marine ...

Gabrielle Shiozawa

Utahn — perhaps the last Air Force Iwo Jima veteran — turns 101 on Memorial Day

Every day. That's how often Jim Kimose thinks about his time at Iwo Jima — including witnessing the historic raising of the American flag — and his service in the United States Air Force during World War II.

13 hours ago

FILE: A flag is placed at Margery Johnson Clapton’s grave at Larkin Sunset Gardens Cemetery in Sa...

Don Brinkerhoff, KSL NewsRadio

Many ways in Utah to honor those who served this Memorial Day weekend

Many cities across northern Utah are offering ways to honor veterans for Memorial Day.

13 hours ago

Wildlife officials are warning hikers about rattlesnakes since they are appearing later than usual....

Lauren Steinbrecher

Rattlesnakes are appearing on Utah trails, around homes later than normal

A local rattlesnake expert is seeing a rise in reports of rattlesnake sightings on Utah trails, and she's got some helpful tips to keep you and your pets safe.

2 days ago

The aftermath of the small plane crash in Washington County. (Enterprise Fire and EMS)...

Michael Houck

Pilot uninjured after crashing small plane in southern Utah, officials say

Officials are trying to piece together a bizarre plane crash after a man bought a plane and crashed it in southern Utah Sunday afternoon

2 days ago

The water bursting into the air on Wasatch Boulevard and Eastwood Drive. (Courtesy: Amy Edwards)...

Michael Houck

Water bursts out of Millcreek road due to broken water line

A water line break caused water to gush out of a Millcreek road Saturday afternoon. 

2 days ago

(National Park Service Photo/Neal Herbert)...

Michael Houck

Utah’s national parks caution visitors of high waters, large crowds for Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest times for Utah's national parks, meaning many are already at capacity or require a reservation.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Asian little girl playing arcade game on the computer machines at the shopping mall outlets...

Get Out Pass

Family Fun Activities in Utah You Have to Try This Summer

These family fun activities will entertain you all summer, so if you ever feel stuck in a rut wondering what to do, refer to this guide!

Woman IT specialist in elegant suit working on notebook computer in data center next to server rack...

Les Olson

Your Complete Guide to Outsourcing IT Services

This guide covers everything you need to know about the different benefits of outsourcing IT services to meet your small business needs.

diverse group of friends dance outside under string lights...

Lighting Design

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Outdoor Lighting

Read for the most frequently asked questions about outdoor lighting to help narrow the search for your home.

Stack of old laptops with dark background...

PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...

BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.

Close up of an offset printing machine during production...

Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.

Rescuers brace for more snowy weather after dozens of hoists in early 2023