ESCALANTE, Utah — A pastor and his family from Bailey is safe after being stranded for two days along the Escalante River in southern Utah, the Associated Press reports.
Garfield County Sheriff Ray Gardner said the family — a father, mother and two teenage girls — lost most of their kayak paddles on Friday when they hit a rough patch of the river, capsizing and scattering their gear. They collected some of it while waiting for help.
The family waited on the banks of the river through a steep canyon in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
On Sunday, a state police helicopter found the family while searching for a missing kayaker.
Gardner said the family dog, which was described as Labrador retriever, was also uninjured and waiting with the family.
The pastor had “just said a prayer that they’d get some help because they didn’t see any other options developing,” Gardner said, “And a minute or two later, we showed up.”
The family had kayaked before but was making their first trip through the Escalante River and might not have known about the obstacles.
Gardner told the AP the family was safe and did not need medical attention. A helicopter landed on a sandbar, and flew the mother and two girls to an airport in Escalante, Utah. It then returned for the father.