TODAY   |  April 14, 2014

Father, sons rescued after 3 days in canyon

A Utah man, who survived a three-day ordeal along with his two sons in the Utah wilderness before being rescued, joins TODAY to discuss the harrowing experience.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> his two young sons. jason knight and his boys were hiking in the utah canyons last wednesday when they became trapped between two tight walls. after a night together, knight hiked out for some more supplies but got lost on his way back. the family then spent two more nights separated as they waited for rescuers to find them. mr. knight joins us this morning. good morning, jason. how are you?

>> good, how are you?

>> i'm doing all right. let's just start with your well-being this morning and the boys. how are you guys feeling both physically and emotionally after this ordeal?

>> we're doing well. you know, we're just trying to get rehydrated again.

>> walk us through a little bit of the timeline. you guys get into the area on tuesday. wednesday you set out to hike. describe the terrain and exactly how you got separated at first from your boys.

>> well, my intention was we're an outdoor family, we like to go hiking. we like to go rappelling. we like to go climbing. we were doing canyon area, which is a combination of all those activities. there's four canyons right next to each other within a quarter mile . and we were going down one call called -- the canyon next to it was called leprechaun. it was supposed to be a three to five-hour hike down with three nice rappels. and the entrances are literally, you know, less than a thousand feet apart. and we got down the wrong canyon and when you canyoneer, you pull the ropes after you get done rappelling, you pull the ropes and go down to the next one, and pull the ropes. and we just got in the wrong canyon for that. i decided to hike out that next morning to go get some more gear so i could go back up the canyon , and i got down to the bottom and realized that i was in the wrong canyon .

>> when you realized you were in the wrong canyon , you had hiked out, obviously you were separated from your kids. any of us as parents know, if your kids are out of your sight for a minute in a crowded mark or a mall, that anxiety is overwhelming. how did you manage that situation over a three-day span?

>> you just have to prepare for those. you have to have a plan and you have to stick to that plan. you have to teach your kids what to do in an emergency like that.

>> the boys had a granola bar and some water, were they able to ration that a bit?

>> yes. originally, when we went in, we had power bars, we had five power bars and a few granola bars and a few candy bars and a gallon of water. and this was for a five-hour hike. and they were able to ration it for two days.

>> on saturday morning, mr. knight, you hear maybe the helicopters, they're coming to get you. that must have been a pretty overwhelming feeling. describe saturday morning when you knew this ordeal was over and what was it like to reunite with your sons?

>> the helicopter was definitely a good sound. i knew if my boys stayed on top, they would find them because they were in an open spot. i knew if they found them, then they would eventually find me. i was really far down into the canyon . so i actually had to climb up 50 feet and signal them, and it took four or five times for them to see me down in the bottom. and then the rescuers, which are -- the rescuers, which are highly trained, they extracted me from hundreds and hundreds of feet -- they were hundreds of feet above me.

>> we're glad it worked out. i know you want to say a special thank you to the rescue teams for all the work that they did. we're glad that you and the boys are okay. send them our best and we appreciate your time today. jason knight , thank you.

>> thank you. and if you want to help support the rescue team, please feel free to donate, and i think that link is on the website.

>> excellent. thank you so much.