Hiker with broken leg survives 4 days in Utah desert

September 26, 2011

Hiker with broken leg survives 4 days in Utah desert

Amos Wayne Richards, crawled for four days across the Utah desert after breaking his leg while on a solo hike in Little Blue John Canyon. With only two protein bars to eat, and captured rain water in his drinking bottles, Richards began crawling back to his car eventually dragging himself almost five miles across the rocky terrain.

Mr. Richards, 64, said he was inspired to hike the Canyon after he saw the Oscar nominated movie 127 Hours. The movie is based on the book by climber Aron Ralston who while hiking in Little Blue John Canyon in 2003, became trapped by a boulder and was forced to cut off his own arm to free himself.

The park rangers first began looking for Richards on  September 9th after his camping spot was found unattended, said Denny Ziemann, chief ranger for Canyonlands and Arches national parks. They discovered his car two days later at the trailhead for Little Blue John Canyon, which is part of the Canyonlands remote and rugged Maze District but technically outside park boundaries.

“The search was pretty quick and dirty” once they realised where Richards had gone hiking, Ranger Ziemann said. Within hours, a helicopter spotted Mr Richards, who used the flash on his camera to catch the pilot’s attention, only a couple of miles from his car.

Ziemann said the result could have been much worse for Richards because he went hiking alone and without telling anybody about his plans.

Richards was treated for the shattered leg and dehydration at a hospital in Moab, Utah, before returning to his home in Concord, North Carolina.

Publisher: Salient News