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Emergency responders urge tourists to stay home after rescue in Emery County

Emery County Search and Rescue are calling on Utahns to stay home and practice social distancing after rescuing a mother and son who got lost while hiking. (Photo: Emery County Sheriff's Office)

EMERY COUNTY, Utah — The Emery County Sheriff’s office is calling on out-of-state tourists and Utahns to adhere to Gov. Gary Herbert’s “Stay Safe, Stay Home” directive after search and rescue crews were called to rescue a mother and son who got lost while hiking.

The mother and her 11-year-old son are from Colorado, which is under a statewide stay-at-home order. The mother told the emergency responders they traveled to Emery County after a Utah friend told them hiking was permitted so long as she didn’t stay the night in Emery County.

The duo was hiking the Bell Canyon and Little Wildhorse Canyon loop Friday when they got lost on the trail. The mother managed to find a cellphone signal to call the county Search and Rescue team.

She gave the responders her GPS coordinates and was advised to stay put until the rescue team arrived.

Seven members of the county rescue team made the two hour trip to the stranded pair using motorcycles and side-by-sides to reach the area.

When the team located the mother and son, they were asked to put on Tyvek suits, N95 masks, gloves and safety glasses as a precaution to prevent any potential spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The team was able to return the family to their car so they could return to Colorado.

Emery County Search and Rescue is using the experience to call on Utahns to take Gov. Herbert’s stay home directive seriously.

“ECSO encourages all to follow COVID-19 orders and directives across the nation without trying to bend the rules or find loopholes,” the rescue team said in a Facebook post. “Over 49 man hours were expended on this rescue and valuable resources were used. Our rescuers and first responders respond professionally and rapidly without thinking of their own safety.”

While the responders were happy to do their jobs, they also stressed the importance of the rescue team’s safety.

“They are trained to serve and protect,” the ESCO team said. “Please do your part to help keep them safe by following the orders and directives that are in place.”