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utah gas station firefighters trespassing charge night hike

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#1 Hum

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 20:54

 A 23-year-old man clung to a rocky cliff 200 feet in the air for two hours early Friday before a worker at a nearby gas station heard his cries and he was rescued, authorities said.

The man, whose name was not released because he had not been charged with a crime, told firefighters he decided to go on a night hike about 9 p.m. Thursday. He was rescued uninjured with the help of a spotlight about six hours later.

It was unclear how he got stuck on the cliff, where he had his feet in a secure spot while his hands grasped rocks above.

"He was hanging tight. He was in a tough spot," Salt Lake City Fire Department spokesman Jason Asay said. "It was pretty much 200 feet straight down."

Authorities believe the man started his hike on a trail but veered off onto private property owned by Staker Parson Cos. President Scott Parson said the company would likely pursue a trespassing charge.

"He clearly entered an area that was posted no trespassing with gates in place," Parson said.

The overnight rescue didn't shut down operations at the quarry, but workers spent part of Friday replacing gates that had to be cut by responding firefighters, Parson said.

The area is steep and rocky, and dangerous even for trained professionals, said Fire Department rescuer John Knowlton. The site was about a mile northwest of the Utah State Capitol.

Asay said officials don't believe the man had been drinking or using drugs.

"He just told us that he wanted to go hiking at night," Asay said. "He was grateful that we helped him down."

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