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Regional News

Christmas Day rescue ends successfully in the Uinta Mountains

Summit County Search and Rescue Snowmobile photo.PNG
Summit County Search and Rescue

Summit County Sheriff's deputies were busy Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with backcountry rescue and rental scams.

Summit County Search and Rescue and the Sheriff's office responded on Christmas Eve to a report of a missing snowmobiler in the Thousand Peaks area above Weber Canyon.

Search and Rescue located the man Christmas morning in Moffat Basin.

Summit County Sheriff's Lieutenant Andrew Wright said the snowmobiler was separated from his group and spent the night out in the Uinta Mountains after search teams discontinued flight rescue efforts around 9 or 10 pm due to bad weather that night.

"And as a lot of people know, once you get up in those high elevations, I know that when they were out searching into the evening hours on Christmas Eve, I saw some of the notes that said that it was whiteout conditions. And that's in and of itself dangerous for our searchers. And, of course, for the person that's lost. But he spent the night. Our searchers had to pull off for the night so that they could get some rest and regroup in the morning. They went out Christmas morning and mid-morning, it sounds like they found the individual. He was, of course, very cold.”

Alan Siddoway is the Summit County Sheriff's Department Search and Rescue Lieutenant, but Wright said the rescue team members are primarily volunteers.
"The rest of them all have full-time jobs. And this is something they volunteer their time to come out, leave their families, you know, of course on a holiday to go out and help someone that needed help, pretty honorable that these women and men are willing to do that any day, any holiday, any hour of the day. You know, they really go out there and provide a very valuable and important service for our community.”

Wright said because the weather changes quickly in the mountains, the message is the same every season: prepare with cold-weather gear, matches, lights, GPS systems, water, and snacks. And he reminds people, don't go out alone.

In other news, the Sheriff's office received a complaint from an Oklahoma City man claiming he paid $1,450 for a holiday reservation which he found on Craigslist. The victim paid through Venmo to stay in a cabin on Matterhorn Drive in the Summit Park neighborhood.

Wright said it doesn't hurt to do a little checking on a reservation by speaking directly with the property owner. He said it is difficult to track down electronic cash transfers like Venmo, and scammers can use fake phone numbers, bank routing, or IP addresses.

"Most reputable short-term rentals go through some sort of a service such as Airbnb or VRBO or a local property management company. Sending someone electronic cash isn't necessarily the safest way to do things because, as we see in this case, once our deputies tried to call the individual on the number our victim was communicating with, it was disconnected. It was obviously a scam. It's not impossible, but it is very difficult for us to track down where that went. It could be out of the country.”

When the man arrived in Park City to occupy the rental on Christmas Eve, he discovered renting tenants already staying there. According to the Sheriff's report, the cabin is owned and run by a property management company and not rented through Craigslist.