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Hiker found safe after getting lost in Utah wilderness during lightning storm


By Emily Tencer

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    DAVIS COUNTY, Utah (KSTU) — A lost hiker has been found after surviving the night through a lightning storm with no food and water.

“Sometimes I like to be alone and not tell people where I’m going, just so I’m away, nobody knows where I am,” said Ammon Jones.

Jones’ desire for alone time went a little too far Thursday. His morning hike through Holbrook Canyon turned into an overnight battle through the weather.

“I need to get home. I need to be safe. I’m shivering, which means hypothermia is really close, so if anything is going to scare me, it’s the cold,” said Jones.

His phone was dead, he had no idea where he was, and he had no food or water. He refused to rest until he found running water.

“There were a lot of different things that triggered my mind that was like, ‘If I had this, it would be a lot simpler,’” he said.

Seven field teams with Davis County Search and Rescue looked for him all night through the storm.

“We’re using our whistles, we’re yelling his name,” said training officer Steve Petty. “When the wind is blowing 40 miles an hour, you can’t hear anything but the wind blowing 40 miles an hour.”

Even with the helicopter, crews couldn’t find him at all.

“I heard yesterday that he heard the helicopters but didn’t have a way to signal them,” said Petty. “There’s maybe 1 in 10 rescues, sometimes 1 in 5, if they just had a light they could get themselves out. If they had something like a headlamp on their head, just keep that in your pack.”

On Friday morning, Jones found a river that led him to a road where he was able to call his family from a gas station in Salt Lake County.

A rough journey he vows to have learned from and will prepare him for the next hike.

“I will make sure that I have a lot more safety things: food, water, and all the essential things that are like, ‘Hey, this is where I am.’ And tell people where you’re going,” he said.

Jones said he’s grateful for everyone who participated in the search for him.

Petty said that if you’re getting ready to go on a big hike: have a plan. He said you should watch the weather forecast, know the route, bring a cell phone charger, and if you’re traveling up into the mountains where it’s cold, dress accordingly.

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