Lost couple spends cold night in wilderness

MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KKCO) -- Mesa County Search and Rescue volunteers recover a married couple and their dog who became lost while hiking last night.

According to the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, Donnie and Rhiannon Smith took a trip to the Coal Canyon trailhead yesterday around 3 p.m. As they walked along a path off the main trail, they lost their way.

By 8 p.m., they realized they would not make it back to their vehicle that night, so they used their cell phones to notify their family that they were lost.

They then found shelter and tried to keep warm. Both were only wearing shorts and light jackets, but they were not able to start a fire because their matches were not working.

Their family members immediately started scouring the Bookcliffs in the pouring rain, searching for the Smiths.

Around 6 a.m., they called 911. Nearly 20 Mesa County Search and Rescue volunteers responded to the scene on ATV and ground teams.

CenturyLink lent a helicopter to the rescue efforts, and a spotter on board found the Smiths. They were lifted onto the helicopter and flown back to the trailhead around 10 a.m. today.

The Smiths and their dog were not injured.

The sheriff’s office wants to remind residents that dark comes much sooner this time of year, so plan accordingly. Also, prepare for colder conditions, since temperatures can drop drastically overnight.

If you get lost while hiking, report it immediately to 911. Search and Rescue can be deployed at all hours.

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