A Surprising Rescue

Nancy Green


KUED Producer, Nancy Green, specializes in the production of documentaries for local, regional, and national PBS broadcast. Her work at KUED spans nearly 25 years, focusing on diverse topics, including healthcare, the arts, history, and the outdoors. Recent, films include, Homeless at the End, Search & Rescue, The Utah Bucket List, Maynard...Read more

There are days when Search and Rescue is called out because someone's life is in the balance. Cases where someone is hanging off a ledge about to plummet a hundred feet, or where a victim is critically injured and has no time to lose. But most of the time SAR deals with the more mundane — a call where someone trips and sprains an ankle, or goes hiking and forgets a head lamp, or simply when the unexpected happens and you just need an extra hand.

The call came in at 1:30 a.m. Utah County Sergeant Rhett Williams had just dozed off. Two overdue hikers were last seen on the Loafer Mountain Trail up Payson Canyon. Their friends were worried. After an initial search, Rhett decided to wait until first light before mobilizing the SAR team. At 5:00 a.m. a spotting plane took flight. By 5:30 the whole team was called out, including Mounted Search and Rescue-rescue volunteers on horseback.

As the team prepared to hike and ride, the pilot saw two people hiking slowly, dragging something behind them on a tarp. It turns out Jay Stubbs went hiking with his two dogs up Santaquin Peak. They made it to the top, but then Minnie, his Mastiff, hurt her leg and couldn't go any further. And when a 130-pound dog decides she's not going to take another step, there's not much you can do. Jay called his wife Rikki, to come and help, and they began the slow, difficult task of carrying the dog down the mountain. As evening approached, they huddled together to survive a chilly night. They had no idea anyone was looking for them, so when morning came, they were surprised to see Search and Rescue. With his hands cramping from hauling the tarp, Jay was particularly happy to see Daron Hughes riding up on horseback to greet him. Minnie got a ride, Jay and Rikki got some food and water, and everyone survived to hike another day — although, Minnie will probably stay home next time. 

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