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One rescue in Big Cottonwood Canyon turns into two rescues Monday

Published: Tuesday, May 28 2013 12:32 p.m. MDT

A search and rescue member and a 14-year-old boy begin their way down from a cliff edge Monday, May 27, 2013, in Big Cottonwood Canyon. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) A search and rescue member and a 14-year-old boy begin their way down from a cliff edge Monday, May 27, 2013, in Big Cottonwood Canyon. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON — A rock climber was seriously injured Monday while rappelling when she ran out of rope before reaching the bottom of the mountain.

The 20-year-old Southern Utah University student was rappelling with friends about 5:30 p.m. in the Storm Mountain area, when she ran out of rope about 15 feet from the bottom and fell to the ground, said Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal.

The woman suffered lower back injuries. Search and rescue crews needed about two hours to get the woman loaded into a basket and back into the main road to a waiting ambulance.

While the rescue operation was going on, Big Cottonwood Canyon was closed in both directions causing significant backups.

A search and rescue member and a 14-year-old boy begin their way down from a cliff edge Monday, May 27, 2013, in Big Cottonwood Canyon. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) A search and rescue member and a 14-year-old boy begin their way down from a cliff edge Monday, May 27, 2013, in Big Cottonwood Canyon. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

A 14-year-old boy who was with his father driving down the mountain asked his dad if he could go on a short walk while they were stuck in traffic, Hoyal said. The boy, however, wandered off to a mountain and began climbing and became stuck on a cliff about 200 feet from the ground.

Hoyal said just as crews were wrapping up the first rescue and were about to open the canyon road, a deputy spotted the boy and recognized that he was stuck. That rescue operation started about 8 p.m. Crews rappelled down to the boy, put a harness on him and rescue crew member rappelled the rest of the way down with the boy on his back, Hoyal said.

The boy was not injured. The rescue was completed about 10:30 p.m.

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