UTAH

Houston couple survives nearly a week in Utah without food and water

Oct 13, 2017, 6:47 PM | Updated: Oct 16, 2017, 2:20 pm
...

KANE COUNTY, UTAH – A couple from Houston, Texas, barely survived being stranded for six days with no food and very little to drink.  The Kane County Sheriff’s Office says the couple would not have survived another day.

Gerald and Helena Byler had planned to travel from Kanab to Lake Powell, but they got stuck on an extremely remote road near the Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument after following their GPS.  The road was so rocky, pieces of their rental car kept breaking off as they drove.  There was even a sign on the road instructing drivers that they needed extra food, clothes and a four-wheel drive vehicle to continue.  Eventually, they got stuck in an area known as the Grand Bench.

(Credit: Kane County Search and Rescue)

After spending a night outdoors, Helena says they agreed she would hike for help.  She says, “I was not afraid.  I don’t know why I was not scared.  I knew that God was with me.”

The hike was grueling.  Investigators say she accidentally circled back to near the area where she left Gerald.  “I couldn’t recognize anything.  There was no hope,” she says.

Luckily for her, she found trailers along the way for shelter.  However, her body was so strained, she was having severe hallucinations.  Kane County Sheriff Tracy Glover says she actually had access to canned food and bottled water, but, her body wouldn’t let her reach it.  He says, “She was not able to get any of that food.  She recounts the story about being in what she thought was a marble building and that there were people in there, but, they wouldn’t let her hands get on the food.”

Helena was spotted by a rancher as she was laying on the Croton Road on October 2nd.  The man who found her, Dell LeFevre was checking on his cattle and was about to go home.  He had a choice of two roads, and took the one that led to Helena.  LeFevre says, “She put her arms up in the air and I knew she was in trouble. She was carrying a two-by-four.  She figured the Navajos had come out and the moon was going to get her, so I knew she was delusional.”  She also claimed she spoke with a 911 dispatcher, and she believed her husband was already rescued.  LeFevre knew that wasn’t true because rescuers wouldn’t have left her there.

Crews were able to ask her where the couple got stranded, originally.  Medical choppers were sent, and they spotted a faint SOS sign made of rocks and flowers.

(Credit: Kane County Search and Rescue)

Gerald says he remembered advice he saw while watching the rescue efforts during Hurricane Harvey.  He says, “Take out a white cloth, either a sheet or a towel, anything, and hang it outside so people can see it.”

Gerald had also found a trailer to provide shelter.  He was so dehydrated when he was found, he couldn’t move.  However, he had been rescued because of his wife.  He says, “She did a heck of a job.”

Kane County officials say Helena has already been discharged from the hospital, but, Gerald actually suffered a stroke during his ordeal.  He’s still recovering at Dixie Regional Hospital.

(Photo Credit: Ladd Egan: KSL TV, Twitter)

Today’s Top Stories

Utah

Strawberry Reservoir...
Devin Oldroyd

Fatal crash near Strawberry Reservoir closes SR-40

One person is dead and another injured following a car accident near Strawberry Reservoir. SR 40 is currently closed in both directions at milepost 40.
1 day ago
Remaining permits for elk and deer hunts this fall will be available to purchase in July....
Britt Johnson

Division of Wildlife Resources warns of poaching as hunting season begins

The Utah Divison of Wildlife Resources is warning hunters of poaching as hunting season begins. They say many instances of poaching happen by accident.
1 day ago
Draper City is suing, Geneva Rock, a mining company at the Point of the Mountain. The city is conce...
Jessica Lowell & Allie Litzinger

Draper City suing Geneva Rock, the mining company at Point of the Mountain

Draper City is suing, Geneva Rock, a mining company at the Point of the Mountain over concerns about what the company's mining activity will do to the area.
1 day ago
fairness pregnant...
Lindsay Aerts

Utah moms rally behind Fairness for Pregnant Workers Act

Utahns in the nationwide advocacy group Mom Congress are pushing for a fairness bill to give pregnant workers more federal protections.
1 day ago
Apartments for rent in Sugar House on Wednesday, July 13, 2022. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)...
Kate Davis, Amie Schaeffer

Utah rental prices continue to soar

The cost of renting has skyrocketed in Utah. The price to rent in the state increased more in the past two years more over the two last years than they did in the decade prior.
1 day ago
A Bluffdale crash between that involved a semi-truck left one person dead on Monday, Sept. 26.  (St...
Amie Schaeffer

Bluffdale crash involving semi-truck kills one

One person has died in an accident in Bluffdale. The crash involved a semi-truck and happened early Monday morning.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Houston couple survives nearly a week in Utah without food and water