Summit County Search and Rescue has a busy weekend |

Summit County Search and Rescue has a busy weekend

Angelique McNaughton

Summit County Search and Rescue teams were deployed five times over the course of four days last week to locate missing people.

Three of the five calls came in on Saturday around the same time, according to Summit County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue liaison Alan Siddoway.

Four of the missions were resolved successfully or on their own. However, there was one fatality. Search and Rescue recovered the body of 21-year-old Joshua Merkley on Saturday at Rockport State Park. Merkley drowned while paddleboarding with friends.

"I hope this is not foretelling the way the rest of the summer is going to go," Siddoway said.

  • The SAR team responded to the following incidents:
  • Sunday, July 19: team members were on the way to assist South Summit Medical with a woman who was injured at Smith and Morehouse Reservoir, but were called off.
  • Saturday, July 18: two team members on the ground and a Department of Public Safety helicopter, with SAR team members, was sent out to search for a father and son who had become separated from the rest of their group during a three-day hike. That situation was resolved on its own.
  • Saturday, July 18: family members reported a man was missing near Bear River. He was located by a Department of Public Safety helicopter and a SAR member. He was cleared at the scene.
  • Thursday, July 16: a 12-year-old boy became separated from his Boy Scout troop near Red Castle Lake. A SAR commander flew to the area in a Department of Public Safety helicopter. The boy was located by someone else in the party, but was removed from the scene via helicopter.

SAR has had a relatively quiet spring and summer, responding to only a few calls since March. The previous calls were mainly for medical assists and were resolved quickly.

Siddoway said that’s not the norm for this time of year considering the number of visitors the county gets to the state parks and national forest. But since Thursday, the calls have increased.

"The lull has been unusual and now it seems the gate has been opened," Siddoway said. "Last night we had a call about an injured scout at Red Castle Lake, but that was resolved by a medical helicopter.

"I hope this isn’t just the beginning," he said.

Summit County