published Monday, April 14th, 2014

Father, sons become stranded for days on Utah hike

PANGUITCH, Utah β€” A Utah father said Monday that emergency preparation helped save the lives of his two young sons when a 3-hour hike turned into a dayslong ordeal after he became trapped between tight canyon walls.

Jason Knight, of Payson, Utah, was stranded for three days after getting stuck in a crevasse Wednesday. His 8- and 11-year-old sons stayed on a ledge atop the canyon with just a granola bar and some water to sustain them.

Knight, 35, described signaling to his sons to stay put. They were too far away to hear him. He told Good Morning America on Monday that outdoorsy families such as his must prepare their children for extreme situations.

"You have to teach your kids what to do in an emergency like that," he said.

But he acknowledged that even with their training, he and his sons wouldn't have made it out without the aid of the helicopter rescuers who found them. Rescuers began searching after the family failed to return home as scheduled on Friday.

Knight said that the family was camping and hiking in Utah's Sandthrax Canyon, but got lost when he took a wrong turn into more difficult terrain.

"Everything out there looks the same," he said.

Knight said he left his children on safe ledge while he went on to find an escape, but then got lodged in the narrow walls of the canyon, about 150 yards away from his boys.

"I put them in a place where a helicopter could easily find them. I knew if something bad happened to me, if they found them, they could probably find me," he said.

The helicopter came around noon on Saturday, and by late afternoon, all three family members were extracted with only bumps, bruises and some dehydration.

"We were in a very bad situation, and without preparedness and the rescue people we wouldn't have made it out," Knight said. "Anything could have happened."

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