The incredible moment a Utah college football team rushed to rescue a woman trapped off a 70-foot cliff when her hair became tangled in her climbing equipment has been shared by one of their coaches.
The Dixie State University football team made their way to the Sugarloaf in St. George on August 7 as they traditionally do before the start of their Fall season.
As the sun set, however, they were approached by a panicked man looking for help in pulling up his partner who was trapped over the side of a cliff she was scaling for 45 minutes when her hair got caught in the ropes.
Without hesitation, the team raced into action and formed a rope system to use their combined strength to drag her back to safety.
Dixie State University football team used their combined strength to pull the woman to safety
The woman’s hair had become trapped in climbing equipment. She is pictured right
The Trailblazers were on the hilltop, known as ‘Dixie Rock’, as part of the season preparation when they were approached by the man at about 7pm.
‘The gentleman she was with asked for some help and we jumped right to it. I think anybody would step up and do the same thing,’ head football coach Paul Peterson told ABC4.
‘We had plenty of muscle to be able to get her up pretty quickly.’
Some of the players quickly grabbed ropes to try and pull her up while others rushed to the ground to attempt to catch her if she should fall.
Video of the incredible rescue was shared by defensive line coach Loni Fangupo, which shows two men and one woman pulling the trapped woman to safety, while the players stood by waiting for some sign she was OK.
‘It was perfect timing for us to be there,’ freshman cornerback Micah Gardner said.
‘We went up there for a team meeting to look over the city and show how we’re supposed to be a light and represent all of St. George.’
The woman, who is in her 20s, was severely dehydrated and shocked but recovered enough to joke with the team that she would be tying her hair up next time.
‘She was just like, “Uh, next time I’ll just tie my hair up”,’ Gardner said. ‘I was like, “Next time?” If that was me, I don’t know if I’m getting back on there!’
A girl propelling down the Dixie Rock got her hair tangled in the rope and was stuck hanging midway down the mountain. Our guys jumped in and pulled her to the rescue. Love this team! #savinglives #nobiggie #OnTheRise @DixieState_FB pic.twitter.com/zsJtglzXmM
— Kelly Bills (@bills_kelly) August 8, 2020
The woman is brought closer to the top of the cliff as the team drag on her ropes
A group rushed forward to grab her hand, risking their own safety in doing so
It is estimated that the woman was hanging over the cliff for 45 minutes before the team rescued her.
‘We strive to be great men, on the football field but also in the community and in the classroom,’ senior wide receiver Deven Osborne said.
‘Eventually someone would’ve helped her up, but I was glad we could be the ones to help and that God put us in that situation.’
‘It made me feel humbled. I was really blessed to see her come up that rope,’ added freshman safety Kyle Floyd. ‘You don’t know what might happen in even a second.’
‘We had no idea that God put us here to pull a young lady to safety today. The boys where quick to react and willing to lend a hand,’ wrote Coach Fangupo to Twitter, as he shared his video of the incident.
‘We coaching HEROS here at Dixie State baby!!! By the way that man with the grey shirt jumped in with no ropes to secure him. RESPECT!!!’
Arizona police officer Scott Veach was identified as the man who risked his safety
Veach is shown here to the right with another man and woman who untangled the hair
The group perched dangerously over the cliff without ropes
Officer Veach said he could not have pulled the woman up without the help of the team
The man in the gray shirt has since been identified as Arizona police officer Scott Veach, who was visiting his son on the team for the visit to ‘Dixie Rock’.
‘Commander Scott Veach displayed his willingness to protect and serve by placing himself in harms way to save this young lady,’ Coach Fangup added.
‘I watched in awe as he stood at the very edge with nothing to secure him. Real HERO’S at WORK!!!’
Veach said that he heard the woman crying for help as he approached where she was hanging.
‘I walked over where the rope was tied off, and there was a girl up there doing something.. I am not really sure,’ he told Fox 10.
‘I asked them if they needed help. She said, “Yeah, I do”. She said her hair was caught in the rope and “..I have no idea what I am doing”.’
‘I had the idea, we got all this muscle behind us. We have about 100 football players and thought, why don’t we just pull her up or let her down,’ Veach added.
‘We just kind of directed them and they pulled her up to the ledge and another guy came up and helped me and we pulled her up on the ledge.’
Three people rushed forward to take the woman’s hand and untie her
The team watched on after her pulling her up the cliff to make sure she was ok
The team had formed a rope system to pull the woman to safety
The police officer, who himself played college football for Arizona State, said that he doesn’t believe that he could have pulled the woman up if it wasn’t for the team.
‘Yeah, I definitely couldn’t have gotten her up by myself because when I first got to her, I grabbed her hand, and when they are pulling, it literally pulls her against the rock, so I was telling her to use her hands and feet, and she told me her legs were numb and she couldn’t use them,’ he explained.
He added that he didn’t think of his own safety as he jumped in without ropes and was more concerned with making sure the woman was pulled up.
‘I had nothing to do with getting her up. I was just coordinating it and directing it,’ he said.
‘Several people came up to me and said “we were really worried about you falling off”. It never even crossed my mind. I was focused on getting her up because I could tell she was in trouble.’
A second video of the rescue was also taken by coach Kelly Bills which shows the treacherous position in which the woman was hanging over the cliff and how her hair had become caught.
‘A girl propelling down the Dixie Rock got her hair tangled in the rope and was stuck hanging midway down the mountain,’ Bills wrote.
‘Our guys jumped in and pulled her to the rescue. Love this team!’
The university has commended their players who were training despite their season hanging in the balance because of the coronavirus pandemic.
‘It was overheard that there was a reason our @DixieState_FB team was on Dixie Rock tonight. Thankfully they were!,’ the university’s athletic department tweeted.
‘Right men, right spot!!! Major props to our @DixieState_FB players and coaches on stepping up tonight!!!!’
The team were on ‘Dixie Rock’ on an annual pilgrimage ahead of the now postponed season
It has since been announced that the school’s football season will be postponed until the Spring due to the continuing developments of the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘As difficult as a decision like this is, it is the right call,’ said DSU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics.
‘There are so many factors involved, but our top priority that we cannot waiver on is the health and well-being of our student-athletes.’
And while the team are disappointed, they are happy to have been given the opportunity to give back to the communiuty with last week’s rescue.
‘At the end of the day, life is more important,’ Deven Osborne, a senior wide receiver on the team, told Fox 13.
‘We love playing football, we love going out there hitting each other, having fun. There is a game outside of the game. We want to be the best men we can possibly be.
‘We lift every day. We get bigger, stronger, faster every day. We might as well use it for the real world.’