DU grad trapped in Utah canyon describes rescue

DENVER -- A woman who graduated from the University of Denver was among those recently rescued from a slot canyon in southern Utah.

The group of seven was stuck in the Sandthrax Canyon near Boulder, Utah for hours before being rescued.

A Wayne County, Utah-based search and rescue team got to the group in the middle of the night.

"There’s really just another level of danger when you really can’t see around you, even with artificial lighting," said Deputy Ray Gardner from neighboring Garfield County, Utah.

The 65-year-old DU graduate was stuck and severely hurt. She asked not to be identified, but said she would have died if she were not rescued.

"They were like angels from Heaven," she said of the rescuers.

The woman said she and the group thought they were in a less difficult nearby canyon. One person was able to get out and call for help.

The president of Canyoneering USA, Tom Jones, said Sandthrax Canyon is the most difficult one in the area.

“I’m amazed they had someone that was strong enough and skilled enough to get out of there on his own," said Jones.

Rescuers said the hikers lost consciousness shortly after being rescued, including the DU graduate. She is now recovering at a hospital in Grand Junction and is being treated for kidney and muscle damage.

Wayne County rescuers say people planning to go into canyons should always let someone know exactly where they’re going and when they are expected to return.

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