FLAGSTAFF — While many were off for this weekend in honor of President’s day—perhaps taking selfies at the Grand Canyon—Search and Rescue (SAR) crews had a busy weekend responding to three missions. Rescue assistance from Coconino County Search and Rescue was required in Williams, Ash Fork and Flagstaff.
The first occurred on Saturday at approximately 3:15 pm when the Williams Fire Department requested assistance responding to an injured adult male hiker in the Bennett Spring area. The hiker had sustained a fall and was complaining of back pain. Search and Rescue personnel responded and assisted with interpreting some GPS location information and rescuing the hiker from the location where he was injured.
Williams Fire personnel hiked in and made initial patient contact and SAR personnel hiked in with additional equipment. It was determined that a helicopter short haul rescue was the most appropriate technique due to the patient’s condition. An Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue helicopter from Kingman responded to the scene and picked up a Heli-Rescue Technician from the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office. The Heli-Rescue Technician was inserted a short distance away from the patient and then hiked to the scene and placed the patient, who was on a backboard, into the Bauman Bag which is the device used during short haul rescue. The helicopter then conducted a short haul during which the rescuer and the patient were suspended 150 feet below the helicopter on a rope. The patient and rescuer were flown from the accident scene to Camp Clover landing zone where the patient was transferred to LifeLine Ambulance for transport to Flagstaff Medical Center. The rescue was complete by 6:30 pm.
While the rescue in Williams was occurring the Sheriff’s Office was responding to a report of a missing 9 year old male in the Westwood Ranch area north of Ashfork. The child had been last seen at 1:00 pm at a residence near Stone Lake and had run into the woods following an argument. When the child did not return in a short period of time the family contacted the Sheriff’s Office for assistance.
Deputies and Search and Rescue responded to the scene. Both a tracking and trailing search dog and an area search dog were used during the initial response. Additional ground search and rescue and the DPS Air Rescue helicopter joined the search using night vision in forward looking infrared units to search for the child. Due to the large search area additional search and rescue resources were requested from Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office to respond in the morning. At approximately 7:24 AM on Sunday as the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office team were driving to the incident command post location they located the child walking down a road. The child identified himself and asked for help. The child was cold and tired but in otherwise good condition. He was transported to the incident command post and reunited with his family.
On Sunday night at approximately 9:30 PM the Sheriff’s Office and SAR personnel responded to a report of four lost hikers; three males and one female, on Mt. Elden in need of assistance. The hikers had become stranded due to darkness near the waterfall area on Mt. Elden. Rescuers made voice contact with them in that area and then DPS Air Rescue was able to locate them and guide them down the slope which they illuminated with the spotlight. Rescuers met them on their descent and then guided them to the trail head. The hikers were lightly dressed and not prepared for cold overnight temperatures. This was the second rescue in the waterfall area of Mt. Elden in a week.
Search and Rescue would like to remind outdoor recreationists to follow some simple advice to keep them safe and aid in a search and rescue effort if it is needed. Outdoor recreationists should always tell someone where they are going and when they will be back so that if a person does not arrive as expected Search and Rescue will have a place to start the search effort. Recreationists should also carry the 10 essentials on every hike since no one ever intends to get lost or hurt on their outing but it can happen. Those essentials include:
3. Extra warm clothing
4. Navigation equipment (map, compass, GPS)
5. Headlamp/Flashlight and extra batteries
6. First Aid Kit
7. Shelter Material such as a space blanket or large leaf bag
8. Fire starting kit or backpacking stove
9. Pocket knife or multi-tool
10. Whistle/Signal mirror
An eleventh essential is a cell phone. While a cell phone doesn’t always work in backcountry locations, sending and receiving texts sometimes works when calls don’t. Also, your cell phone can help provide rescuers with important information about the situation and the location.