AMERICAN FORK -- A teen had to be rescued overnight in American Fork canyon after he got sick and lost his way in the dark.
According to Doug Willes with the Utah County Sheriff's Office, the 16-year-old had been fishing with his family at Silver Lake Reservoir but decided to hike the two miles to Silver Lake at about 7 p.m. Tuesday. Willes said the teen had been suffering from flu symptoms all day and got sick as he was hiking and decided to return to his family, but lost his way as it got dark.
Family members eventually called 911 after they hadn't heard from or seen the boy in several hours. Willes said the search started just before 1 a.m. Wednesday and it took them nearly four hours to locate and bring the teen off the mountain. Willes said the teen did the right thing by staying put once he realized he was in trouble.
"When he started having problems, instead of trying to fight his way back down he just huddled up under a tree and stayed there. He was going to sleep there overnight and hike out in the morning," Willes said. The teen was located just off the trail, and other than a slight twisted ankle and dehydration was OK.
Crews from the Utah County Search and Rescue, Utah County Sheriff's Office and the Utah County Sheriff's Mounted Posse all assisted in the search. Willes said while the teen did everything he should have done in the situation, it could have been prevented.
"The biggest thing is just go prepared. He had no head lamps, no food or water, no way of communicating," Willes said. "He did the right thing after putting himself in that situation, but if he was prepared it would have been a lot easier."
Willes also said the teen did the right thing by telling his family where he was going, but that hikers should go with someone else whenever possible, take food and water and have some way of communicating in case you get lost or injured.
About 20 people assisted in the search.