Should hiker rescued for second time this year get billed?

Should hiker rescued for second time this year get billed?

FARMINGTON, Utah (ABC 4 News) - Should those needing search and rescue services be given a bill? It's a question that's crossed the minds of some sheriff’s deputies after a Davis County man needed to be rescued from the same trail for the second time this year.
FARMINGTON, Utah (ABC 4 News) - Should those needing search and rescue services be given a bill? It's a question that's crossed the minds of some sheriff’s deputies after a Davis County man needed to be rescued from the same trail for the second time this year.

“I think he should probably pick an easier trail,” said Brad Armstrong, a Salt Lake City resident.

A 52-year-old man needed to be rescued over the weekend from Great Western Trail east of Layton. He got lost on the same trail back in May.

“He should have learned the first time around,” said Mark Van Roosendaal, a hiker.

Search and rescue responded and with the help of a helicopter got him off the mountain, but at a cost to public safety.

“We send deputies up there that are taken off the road that are not available for other types of situations,” said Sgt. Susan Poulsen, Davis County Sheriff’s Department.

But it’s also a cost in terms of community tax dollars.

The Davis County Sheriff's Department said the cost to rescue a hiker depends on medical needs, location and trail conditions. Even though crews are volunteer, on average a rescue operation can add up to $3,000-$4,000, said Poulsen. Need a helicopter? Tack on thousands more.

“That's expensive, he should pay the second time,” said Van Roosendaal.

The Davis County Sheriff’s Department considered trying to re-coop costs from the hiker.

“Initial deputies on the scene were talking about that,” said Poulsen. “They may be looking into that, but certainly not anything criminal.”

With weather moving into the Wasatch Front this week, rescue crews know their services may be needed now more than any other time of the year.

Hikers are taking caution.

“You know the forecast and if it's really bad I don't go,” said Ted Palomaki, a hiker.

“When it's snowing, I’ll take the lower trails, so you can’t get into a whole lot of trouble,” said Van Roosendaal

If you do get into to trouble crews want you to call for help-- even if it's for the second time.

“Things happen, people get lost, the last thing we want is for someone to hesitate to call when someone is in need,” said Poulsen.

“We all need to take responsibility for our action and be prepared, but if I’m one of the ones up there in trouble I’m sure glad there is someone who can rescue me,” said Palomaki.

Another factor to consider when hiking this time of year is Day Light Saving time. It's this weekend. If you're not prepared you could find yourself on a pitch black trail without proper lighting.



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