Dramatic video shows helicopter crew rescue hikers in freezing National Park

Winter scenery in Zion National Park, Utah, USA
(Image credit: Getty)

The National Park Service (NPS) has shared a dramatic video showing the successful rescue of two hikers from a remote part of Zion National Park last weekend. The two visitors became stranded for over 24 hours as temperatures plunged well below freezing.

The pair were reported missing on Saturday 21 January after they failed to return on time. They had been attempting to hike the Subway Route from the top down. The Subway is a semi-technical canyon hike that involves a degree of scrambling, wading, and even swimming. Although the total route is around 9.5 miles, the NPS warns that it feels like more, and people often get lost due to the confusing terrain.

A helicopter was dispatched from the Utah Department of Public Safety, and Park Rangers were sent to assemble a rescue team and prepare a landing zone.

The helicopter crew used Forward Looking Infrared (FLI) to track down the lost hikers, and lowered a specialist to bring them aboard. The helmet footage below shows the two hikers being brought aboard from the perspective of the helicopter crew.

One of the pair was suffering from severe hypothermia and taken to a nearby hospital where they are now in stable condition.

“We appreciate our partnership with the Utah Department of Public Safety. Their execution of this rescue was outstanding,” said Zion Chief Park Ranger Daniel Fagergren in a statement. “Helicopters are not always available, and, even when they are, conditions don’t always allow them to fly. Winter conditions create an extremely challenging rescue environment. Currently, many of our canyons drop to sub-zero temperatures at night, streams and pools are iced over and deep snow covers the trails at higher elevations.

"When you visit, you need to understand and be prepared for the conditions you might face here. These kinds of operations are inherently dangerous for our staff and our partners, and they don’t all end like this one.”

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.