Moab woman OK after being stuck in quicksand for 14 hours
by Lisa J. Church
Staff Writer
Jul 17, 2014 | 2886 views | 0 0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A 78-year-old Moab woman spent 14 hours mired in quicksand before rescue teams were able to locate her.

Maggie Corson was “in good condition” when she was found by search crews at approximately 11 p.m. on July 9 in an area of Courthouse Wash in Arches National Park, according to a news release from the Grand County Sheriff’s Office.

A friend reported Corson missing on July 9 after she failed to show up at the Grand County Library for a book club meeting. Corson had last been seen 1:30 p.m. the previous day according to the news release.

The friend, who contacted the Moab Police Department, told officers that it was “highly unusual” for Corson to miss a meeting and to be gone so long, according to a police report. Police checked her home but found no one home and nothing unusual, according to the report. An attempt-to-locate bulletin was then issued on Corson’s vehicle.

The friend told authorities that Corson often walked on the bike path at Courthouse Wash about three miles north of Moab along U.S. 191. The friend called police at about 9 p.m. to say she had found Corson’s vehicle in the parking lot at Courthouse Wash, according to the police report.

Search teams from Arches National Park and Grand County Search and Rescue quickly began searching near the bike path and surrounding areas, including upper Courthouse Wash, Grand County Sheriff’s Lt. Kim Neal said in the news release.

Corson was found, mired knee-deep in quicksand, approximately two hours later about a quarter-mile up the wash.

Grand County Search and Rescue Commander Jim Webster said it took some time to extricate Corson as rescue workers had to break her free from the suction of the quicksand.

“We started digging in the quicksand with our hands, right around her leg in order to break the suction," Webster said. "We eventually broke the suction, and were able to pull her leg out a little at a time and got her out after about twenty minutes.”

Corson told the search crews that she had become stuck at about 9 a.m. that morning.

Grand County Emergency Medical Services and rescue members assisted in transporting Corson to her vehicle in the parking lot.

Webster said it was unusual to find someone stuck in quicksand in the Moab area.

“There has been only one other case I know of in the Moab area of a person getting stuck in quicksand and that was in the 1990s,” he said. “It is not common for a person to get stuck. Mostly, you see livestock stuck in the sand.”

He said people who plan to hike or bike alone should always notify a friend or family member of their plans and the area in which they will be recreating.

“Always let people know what your plan is if you are hiking or biking alone,” he said. “And carry a cell phone.”

Times-Independent reporter Molly Marcello contributed to this story.

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