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Rescuers save couple after ATV rolls off cliff

Sun Advocate associate editor

An arduous rescue effort in the high country north of Kenilworth Thursday saved the lives of a Price couple whose ATV had plunged over a cliff into a densely-wooded canyon.

William Bate, 77, and his wife, Larue, 74, were seriously injured when their vehicle rolled end-over-end about five times in Mathis Canyon, according to Carbon County Sheriff's Capt. Guy Adams. The ATV finally came to rest when it struck a tree.

The canyon is in the north side of the cliffs at an elevation of 8,900 feet. Rescuers were guided to the scene by another couple who had been riding with the Bates. They were able to contact public safety dispatch by cell phone and provide rescuers from multiple agencies with GPS coordinates.

Nevertheless, negotiating the rugged terrain was "quite an ordeal," as Adams described it. "It was all our ATVs could do to get there," he said.

Once in position at the top, rescuers had to climb down the steep slope to get to the crash site. Sheriff's Department Sgt. Tory Christiansen and Price Police detective Brandon Sicilia were the first to reach the stranded couple.

Once the Bates were secured to backboards that had been carried down, rescuers had to carry them up the slope and across to a small clearing in the brush that served as a helipad for a LifeFlight helicopter. "That pilot deserves a lot of credit. There was not much room to land," Adams commented.

The chopper had to land and take off twice, first for William - who was deemed most seriously hurt - and then for his wife.

Responding to the rescue call were Carbon County Search and Rescue, Price Fire and Rescue, Price Police and sheriff's department.

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