Father speaks after he, his sons entered wrong canyon, became stuck for 3 days

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GARFIELD COUNTY, Utah – A man and his two sons were rescued after they had been missing in Sandthrax Canyon for at least three days.

The family was rescued Saturday, and on Sunday the father sat down with FOX 13 News to discuss the rescue. See the video above for the father's interview.

Jason Knight and his two sons arrived in Hanksville Tuesday; Knight is from Payson and had come to the area to camp.

According to a press release from Wayne County officials, authorities were contacted Friday after a woman called to say she had seen a man and two boys enter the canyon with a day pack, and she said after three days they had still not returned to their camp.

Crews first located the overdue party’s car, and Saturday just before noon a Department of Public Safety helicopter found the two boys on a ledge at the top of the canyon. About 30 minutes later, the man was found 150 yards away. He was about 350 feet down toward the bottom of the canyon and had been trapped by the tight canyon walls.

Crews said the boys hadn’t seen their father since Wednesday when he told them to stay put to avoid further trouble. The boys had consumed all of their water Wednesday and had one granola bar to share.

The boys were extracted at about 1:45 p.m. Saturday and the father by about 4:26 p.m. The extractions were carried out by the high angle rescue team from Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.

Officials said the boys were dehydrated but otherwise OK. There were no serious injuries among the family.

According to the press release: “Wayne County Sheriff's Office would like to express their appreciation to all those who assisted with these rescue efforts. Garfield County Sheriff, Utah Department of Public Safety, and our own Wayne County Sheriff's Search & Rescue.”


  • Tyr

    I am grateful for their safety, but I would not describe the canyon he intended to do, East Fork of Leprechaun, as “very easy for children” as he did. That could be quite a misleading statement. It is a technically demanding and physically challenging canyon. I did it on Friday, not knowing he and his children were stuck nearby.

  • Bitsko

    It’ll be a good lesson for them. You don’t realize how things can go badly wrong in the outdoors until it’s happened to you. And, looking back, it’s very difficult to pinpoint exactly where you made the wrong decision. There is no way to count on not making the little errors. You need to keep your eye on the bigger picture…..and above all, if it doesn’t “seem right”, STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING! Never assume that by going on “things will get easier.” They won’t.

  • Jim Wells

    Why does Fox news celebrate bad judgement?
    Tonight; a story about a contractor who had to dig himself out, after the trench he entered failed. Although I sympathize with his injuries; how many OSHA safety codes did he violate in his apparent attempt to get himself killed?
    and Mr. Knight… his actions should be reviewed for child endangerment.
    Apparently: he’s unable to read a guide book; has no peers who trust his judgement enough to join him on a outing; has so little experience in the canyon country, or so little sense that he doesn’t know when to turn around.
    Yet he smiles and talks to the camera like he’s accomplished something!
    And the news team commends his actions!
    Please let myself and others viewers know the cost to the tax payer for the rescue efforts and how much of these costs will be repaid by Mr. Knight.
    And please, in future stories, identify these Darwin Award candidates actions for what they are, cautionary tales to remind people to THINK before they act.

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