‘Extremely lucky’ youths saved from rockslide – Willow Creek Road closed for clearing, repairs

Two youths were trapped by this rockslide Sunday evening near Salina. One of the youths was transported to Provo for treatment of injuries.

SALINA — Two Gunnison youths suffered non-life-threatening injuries when a rockslide trapped them Sunday night.

“They were extreme lucky,” said Sevier County Sheriff Nate Curtis. “I don’t know how they survived.”

The rockslide involved some massive boulders, which smashed into their vehicle as they were traveling down the Willow Creek Road northeast of Salina Sunday at approximately 7:30 p.m.

“It flattened the truck they were in and pushed it off the road,” Curtis said. 

Sevier County deputies responded along with Sevier County EMS, Salina’s fire department, Sevier County Search and Rescue, Utah Highway Patrol, Sevier County’s road department and the U.S. Forest Service. 

Upon arriving on scene, responders found one of the youths still partially trapped in the vehicle, which had to be cut open by the fire department to extricate him. 

“The fire department had to remove what was left of the cab,” Curtis said. The driver’s leg was pinned in the cab of the truck. He was flown by medical helicopter to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo, while the passenger was taken to Gunnison Valley Hospital. The passenger was later released from the hospital, while the driver is expected to be released later this week, Curtis said.

None of the injuries were reported to be life-threatening at the time. Several other campers in the area were stranded behind the rockslide and either had to stay at their camping site or find another way home after having to walk around the slide, Curtis said. 

“We have hunters and campers up there and it’s a concern,” Curtis said. “Even if they remove all the smaller boulders, you still may only be able to get a four-wheeler by.”

The rocks, including one massive boulder, damaged the road and left the area looking as though a bomb went off, Curtis said. 

“You don’t see house sized ones come down that often,” Curtis said. 

The road is temporarily closed until it can be cleared, which may take some time due to the volume of material involved in the slide. 

“It was just part of the natural erosion process,” Curtis said. 

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