Salt Lake City, Utah — Crews were debriefing the operation that involved hoisting nearly 20 people to safety in Garfield County, days after a dramatic rescue of children stuck in a Utah canyon.
On Friday morning, a rescue involving the Department of Public Safety began and was successfully wrapped by noon. The youth group made up of mostly 11- and 12-year-old children and their leaders were caught overnight in Sandthrax Canyon located just east of Capitol Reef National Park.
“We do this literally every, single day. This is the biggest one we’ve had,” said Napierski on Monday.
Napierski’s crew was asked to come down by Garfield County Sheriff Danny Perkins.
According to Napierski, operations like the one last week do not succeed without all the training and hard work that goes on behind the scenes, every single day, to make sure the helicopters are in tiptop shape. “We’ve got mechanics that are second to none that go through this and touch and feel and look at every nut, bolt, screw, and rivet on this helicopter every single day and ensure that this machine is going to keep running and doing what it supposed to do when we’re in these type of precarious spots,” explained Napierski.
One of the boys who was rescued really inspired him Napierski said. A 12-year-old who, when it was his turn to be hoisted out, deferred to the boy behind him and helped Sgt. Napierski get that boy and at least a dozen others ready to be hoisted out before he himself finally left the canyon. “Gave him a patch and told him, get with us in a few years when you’re a little older and see if we can find a spot for him, he was an incredible young man,” Napierski said.
In the entire state, Sandthrax Canyon is regarded as one of the more technical and difficult climbs.
Only experts should even consider attempting the trek. “It was a super bad situation and we’re just happy we were able to come down, step in and bring a resolution to it and get everybody home to their families,” said Napierski.