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Nephi Man Rescued From Emery County Slot Canyon

Rescue team carrying 26 year old Brigham Holland to a helicopter hoist in Dang Canyon. Picture: Emery County Sheriff's Department

GOBLIN VALLEY STATE PARK — When 26 year old Brigham Holland broke his leg in a slot canyon in rural Emery County, he knew he’d be rescued.

“I told people where I was going and waited for them to report his failure to reappear,” Holland said.

He leg gave out around 7:30 PM Tuesday, after jumping too far down one section of the Ding and Dang slot canyon near the Goblin Valley State Park. After realizing he was probably only going to make it worse if he kept hiking, Holland said he took of his wet shoes and socks and settled in for a long wait.

It was 2:30 AM on Wednesday before James Byars with Emery County’s search and rescue team was called in to the search.

“State Parks had been notified so a park ranger and three helpers went in to the canyon to see where he was. So when we were enroute we were advised they made contact with him,” Byars said.

It took a few more hours for the search and rescue team to reach Holland.

Picture: Emery County Search and Rescue

“We got in there and the water was quite deep. It was chest deep in several spots,” Byars said. “There were a lot of choke-stones to go over to get to him.”

Even though he expected a rescue team to come, Holland described the feeling of seeing them with one word “relief”.

Byars said the team splinted Holland’s leg and carried him further down the slot canyon to a place the Department of Safety’s helicopter could reach the 26 year old with a hoist.

Rescue team carrying 26 year old Brigham Holland to a helicopter hoist in Dang Canyon.
Picture: Emery County Sheriff’s Department

“It was kind of intense,” Holland said. “I could see the canyon walls receding in my peripheral vision but mostly I tried to breathe deeply and not think about it.”

“The look on his face when he was being hoisted out by the helicopters was…words can’t describe it,” Bylars added.

Picture: Emery County Search and Rescue

The helicopter dropped Holland off at the Goblin Valley State Park where he said a waiting ambulance took him to Castleview Hospital in Price. He was released later that night and Holland’s parents arrived to take him back home to Nephi.

“It was my first experience being rescued,” Holland said.”I am very grateful for [the rescue team] and I was really impressed with their performance.”

The team is all volunteer so Bylars said they returned to a full day of work at their other jobs. Even with the extra duty, he said they were happy to help.

“The thanks we get is why we do it,” Bylars said.