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When you got lost, search and rescue veteran found you

Discussion in 'Archives - Yahoo Canyons Group' started by Tom Jones, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. Tom Jones

    Tom Jones Guest

    When you got lost, search and rescue veteran found you The Salt Lake Tribune Updated: 12/06/2008 05:16:25 PM MST

    Not the dog who stayed by his owner's frozen body, not the airplane crash that spread body parts over Kearns, not even the teenager crushed by a falling rock.

    Alan Erdahl has the clinical memories of an ER doc, a matter-of-fact distance for death and gore that comes from years of recovering bodies.

    Except for the kids, lifeless children he had to fish out of creeks. Inevitably, they reminded him of his two young daughters.

    "After a couple 100 bodies, you get used to the bodies," he says. "But you never get used to the kids."

    After 42 years on the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team -- 10,000 hours picking over snow drifts and dangling from rock walls, Erdahl retired earlier this year. He was the longest-serving volunteer on the team. He worked on 2,000 rescues. Most of the time, he found you bloodied, limping, but alive.

    "If you were injured in the mountains in Salt Lake County, Alan Erdahl was most likely there," says Laurie Jess, another longtime team member.

    His avocation was unlikely. While studying electrical engineering at the University of Utah, he took up mountain climbing and started tagging along with a friend's father on search and rescue missions. In 1965, he volunteered for the team himself.

    Complete article:
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