FLAGSTAFF—A twenty seven year-old man of the Phoenix area was crushed and trapped by a large boulder weighing more than thirty tons that slid down the mountain side. He was standing on Elden Lookout Road attempting to move another large boulder that had previously fallen into the road.
On Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at about 7:23 am the Coconino County Sheriff’ Office received the report of a man that was crushed by a rock slide on the Mount Elden Lookout Road located approximately 3.3 miles up from the bottom of the mountain. Dispatch immediately sent first responders from the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, the Summit Fire Department and Guardian Medical Transport. The Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue Helicopter was placed on a standby status pending the arrival of emergency personnel who would assess the conditions and determine if a safe landing zone was available.
The first to arrive were a Sheriff’s Office patrol Sergeant and Corporal. They observed two very large boulders blocking the road and learned that the four men the victim was traveling with removed him from underneath the boulder. The victim’s legs and pelvic area appeared to have been crushed and severely injured by the weight of the boulder. Due to the condition of the road the responding ambulance and fire truck were not able to drive to the victim’s location. A Sheriff’s Sergeant and a Guardian Battalion Chief who were both operating four wheel drive vehicles were able to drive additional rescue personnel to the scene. A Search and Rescue Coordinator was not able to identify a safe landing zone for air transportation. The victim was prepared for transport and placed in the rear of a Sheriff’s Commander’s assigned SUV and driven to the waiting ambulance, at which point the patient was transferred to the ambulance and transported to the Flagstaff Medical Center.
Investigators learned that the men were from the Phoenix area and were headed up the mountain with the intent of working on one of the radio towers.
The Coconino National Forest has closed Elden Lookout Road and may be temporarily closing other trails and areas affected by the recent rains. Current conditions can be found on their website at www.fs.usda.gov/coconino.