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Family rescued from Virgin River Gorge

Photo: KSL TV

CEDAR POCKETS — A family’s attempt to float down the Virgin River, just south of St. George, didn’t go quite as planned, leading to a dramatic rescue in the Virgin River Gorge.

A friend told search crews the family of five left around four yesterday afternoon. When they didn’t return by midnight the friend called for help.

“I was called in the middle of the night by one of my sergeants,” said Darell Cashin, spokesperson for the Washington County Search and Rescue. “I talked to my counterpart in Mohave County and they were mobilizing their search and rescue out of Kingman, getting ready to come up here.”

This Google Map shows the remote location of Cedar Pockets, near the Utah-Arizona state line.

This Google Map shows the remote location of Cedar Pockets, near the Utah-Arizona state line.

While the crews prepared, Life Flight agreed to put their helicopter in the sky and start the search.

“They started flying the river and said just north of Cedar Pockets they saw three people in the river.”

Cashin said the helicopter then relayed the location to nearby search crews.

“They hiked down to them and found out there were actually five. It was the family that was missing.”

Cashin says the family was in good shape, but had to hike most of the way down river because the water was so low. He says that kind of water fluctuation is not unusual in southern Utah, especially because one good thunderstorm can turn rivers like the Virgin into dangerous flood waters.

He is recommending taking a life jacket any time you recreate in water that is two feet or deeper.

You can hear more in the audio story below: