Two hikers found unhurt in Zion National Park after three days walked out of a popular slot canyon with rescuers, officials said.
The pair was with seven other hikers and a two-person rescue team from Nevada's Nellis Air Force Base that had been lowered into the canyon by a helicopter late Tuesday night, park spokesman David Eaker said Wednesday.
Evgenia Bruzulukova, 25, of Roy, and Jonathon Wilson, 28, of Portland, Ore., set out Saturday on a hike through Subway, a popular yet treacherous part of the southern Utah park, park officials said.
Search and rescue teams began looking for them Sunday after their vehicle was spotted at the trailhead.
None of the hikers was injured, Eaker said.
"They were tired and hungry and beat up a little, but otherwise are fine," he said.
The group was about one-half mile from the end of the Subway route when rescuers reached them, Eaker said.
Bruzulukova and Wilson, who had one of daily 50 permits required for hiking through the Subway, had last been seen by park visitors Saturday morning at the head of Russell gulch during the beginning of their trip.
The Subway is a 9.5 mile slot canyon that was carved out of rock by the Left Fork of North Creek, according to a park website. The area is considered a technical canyon where rappelling and down-climbing skills are required. The trip typically takes about seven hours and requires hikers to wade or swim through pools of cold-to-frigid water.
Burzulukova and Wilson told rescuers they became trapped Saturday after finding themselves in area where the water was deeper, colder and moving faster than they expected, Eaker said.
"It was beyond their capabilities," he said.
The pair moved back up the canyon a short way but couldn't climb up canyon walls, so they decided to wait in place for help, Eaker said. There is no cellular phone service available, he said.
A lone hiker, David Balkcom, of Salt Lake City, came across the pair on Tuesday, followed by a group of five other hikers and then another solo hiker.
Some in the large group of hikers had more advanced technical skills and rigged a rope system to get all nine people across the deep-water pool, Eaker said.
"The very experienced hikers got them through a really bad spot and, slowly, they started working their way out," he said, adding that Burzulukova and Wilson made the right choice when deciding to wait for help.
"Certainly we told all these people that the water was going to be higher and colder than they might expect and we give them all kinds of safety tips," said Eaker. "Ultimately, it's their decision whether they want to go."