University News

SUU Aviation Locate Lost Snowshoers Near Brian Head

Published: February 25, 2019 | Author: Lexi Carter | Category: Community Outreach

2019-02-aviation-helicopter-search-rescue-bell-206.jpgThe Southern Utah University Aviation Program assisted in the search and rescue of two lost snowshoers in the Brian Head area on February 24, 2019. Flying a Bell 206 helicopter and equipped with night vision technology, flight instructors Josh Larsen and Patrick Keranen found the hikers around 9:00 pm.

The two hikers were out snowshoeing near Brian Head, Utah and became lost after sundown. The Iron County Sheriff’s Office, Iron County Search and Rescue, and SUU Aviation responded to the Brian Head Marshal’s Office call to assist in finding the lost hikers. Helicopters replaced snowmobiles once it was determined the hikers were outside their original location.

Exposed to the elements, the hikers found a cabin and turned on the grill in order to catch the attention of the helicopter pilots. The hikers were cold and exhausted, but unharmed when picked up by the SUU Aviation pilots.

"SUU’s Aviation courses include scenario-based training that prepares both instructors and students to aid in these kinds of searches,” said Robert Paul, assistant chief helicopter pilot at SUU Aviation. “There is no better training for our students than to get up in the air on real life missions, which is why we work closely with the Iron County Sheriff's Department and operate as a Search and Locate Team.”

SUU pilots are sworn in as deputy sheriff's to assist the Iron County Sheriff's office in aerial operations. They are frequently called on by the Iron County Sheriff's office to assist in aerial missions. Aviation instructors have completed over 160 missions in search and locate, crime scene photography, stolen property recovery, and more.

2019-02-aviation-helicopter-search-rescue.jpg“What we do is a community service,” said Mike Mower, Executive Director of SUU Aviation and Chief Flight Instructor. “We don’t replace; we assist the Iron County Sheriff Search and Rescue. If any praise is given for the rescues, it’s those guys – they search all night and literally hike up and down canyons to find lost people. We come in and make a lot of noise, so the person being rescued hears us and comes out of hiding. The ICSSAR are the guys doing the hard work.”

SUU uniquely prepares students for a career flying aircraft anywhere in the world. The Aviation Program offers training in Rotor Wing Pilot (helicopter) or Fixed Wing Pilot (airplane) components. The specialized labs, located at the Cedar City, Utah Airport include state-of-the-art aircraft.

Visit the SUU Aviation website for more information on programs and service opportunities.


Tags: School of Integrative and Engaged Learning Aviation

Contact Information:

Rachelle Hughes, assistant director of public relations
435-586-5400
rachellehughes@suu.edu