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Rangers Find Injured Man Crawling Across Desert

Canyonlands National Park

National Park News

On Friday, September 9th, rangers in the Island in the Sky District began looking into circumstances surrounding a campsite at the Willow Flat campground, which appeared to be abandoned and unoccupied. The investigation led to a search for Amos Richards, a 64-year-old visitor from North Carolina. Details led staff to believe that he may have been in or around the park’s Maze District. A search was begun for Richards two days later. He was spotted from a helicopter around 2 p.m. in the area of Little Blue John Canyon, just outside the park’s boundary, and was flown to Moab Regional Hospital, where he was treated for leg fractures, internal injuries, trauma, and dehydration. Further investigation revealed that Richards attempted to hike in and out of Lower Blue John Canyon via the entry/exit route between West and Little Blue John Canyons.  He fell approximately 10 feet trying to gain the wash bottom, suffering extensive leg trauma in the process. Richards couldn't bear weight on his right leg, so spend the next four days and three nights crawling across the desert in an attempt to get back to his car. He had no overnight gear, warm clothes or a map, but did have five liters of water and two power bars with him. No one knew where he was or what his plans were. It rained on him several times as he crawled across the desert. Richards is expected to fully recover. Matt Jenkins was IC for the search.


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