This Labor Day weekend proved extremely busy for Coconino County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Deputies and Search and Rescue. There were at least 11 search and rescue events logging over 35 hours of response time. The 35 hours represents only the time from start of the calls to resolution and does not include the collective time of multiple responders. Several events required call out of Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteers and personnel from assisting agencies such as US Forest Service (USFS) and the AZ Department of Public Safety (DPS). Many of the individuals were residents from outside of Coconino County who were visiting the area for outdoor recreation activities during the holiday weekend. Below is a summary of the events with additional information on assisting agencies.
Friday, September 4, 2015
At 12:48 pm we received a call that an 18 year old male subject exited a vehicle in Oak Creek Canyon and ran into the woods. The subject had made earlier statements in the day indicating that he may be suicidal. Deputies searched area business, trailheads and roads looking for the individual. DPS, Cottonwood Police Department and Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office also were given a description of the individual and asked for their assistance in attempting to locate him. After an extensive search, the subject was located after a citizen reported seeing him walking along State Route 89A.
Saturday, September 5, 2015
At 11:54 am we received a report of a 64 year old male and 6 year old female who were overdue from an ATV ride off of FS169 in the Forest Lakes area. Responders included CCSO, USFS, DPS Air Rescue, Forest Lakes Fire Department, and Coconino Sheriff’s SAR. The subjects were located by DPS Air Rescue at 4:18 pm, and ground units were guided to their location which was approximately 0.36 miles south of the camp. The subjects were then led by ground units to their camp. Neither subject was injured.
At 7:11 pm we received a report of a 59 year old male hiker on Humphreys Trail who was overdue. The overdue subject intentionally separated from his son at approximately 5:30 as he was hiking slowly. When he did not arrive at the vehicle as expected, the hiking partner called 911 to report him overdue. Thunderstorms were active in the area. Sheriff’s Office responders were assisted by volunteers from the SAR Unit and DPS Air Rescue. Deputies began the search by checking the trail heads and along the trail to the wilderness boundary. During a break in the weather DPS Air Rescue was able to fly over the area and located the subject at about 10:20 pm. He was off trail in the Snowbowl Ski Area approximately 0.9 miles east of the trail head. SAR personnel hiked to his location and escorted him out to the trail head. He did not request any medical treatment and was reunited with his son.
Sunday, September 6, 2015
At 1:26 pm we received a report of a male subject who was injured while riding an ATV in Pink Bowl which is located in the Cinder Hills OHV area. The injured subject was later pronounced deceased. Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the scene of the accident and SAR units responded to assist with recovering the body of the deceased.
At 3:18 pm we received a report of a 50 year old male who was stranded off the AB Young Trail in Oak Creek Canyon. Cell contact with the individual revealed he was not in need of medical attention but was unable to navigate the terrain. Due to the difficulty in locating the subject who was off trail the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) helicopter and the DPS Air Rescue helicopter from Kingman responded to assist. SAR units were prepared to hike from East Pocket end of the trail to attempt to locate and assist the subject while Sedona Fire units hiked from Bootlegger Day Use Area end of the trail. By around 7:00 pm the YCSO helicopter crew had located the subject and guided searchers to his location. Rescue efforts required use of a rope hand line to stabilize the individual as he was assisted down the canyon walls back to the trail. DPS Ranger also assisted by providing light along the trail as rescuers escorted the individual back to the trailhead. He was evaluated by medics and refused medical treatment. The subject was then reunited with his family.
At 7:00 pm we received a report of a male subject who had been gone from his family campsite for over three hours. The subject was on his dirt bike riding in the Cinder Hills OHV area. Deputies patrolled the area looking for the overdue person. The subject later made his way to Leupp Road where he used someone’s phone to contact his family and advise them of his location.
Monday, September 7, 2015
At 1:15 am a deputy patrolling the Mormon Lake area received a report of two women who were overdue in returning to their campsite after taking a ride from two unknown subjects on a UTV. The reporting party also called the information into dispatch. Deputies patrolled forest service roads and when following up with the reporting party learned that the two women had returned safely.
At 12:00 pm DPS Air Rescue in Flagstaff requested a CCSO-SAR helicopter rescue technician to assist Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with a technical rescue of an injured climber on Granite Mountain in the Prescott area. The climber was rescued and transported to the hospital for treatment.
At 12:42 pm we received a report of a 10 year old and a young adult overdue from an ATV ride near their campsite off of FS124 in the Mormon Lake area. The other people at the campsite had located the ATV but the subjects were not with it. The Sheriff’s Office requested assistance from USFS (both law enforcement and fire personnel), SAR, and DPS to conduct a search by ground and air. At 3:21 pm DPS Air Rescue from Phoenix located the subjects in good condition approximately one mile east of their camp site. Ground personnel were guided to the location and transported both subjects back to camp. Neither subject required medical attention.
At 12:51 pm we received a report from a woman that her husband and two children, a 7 year old and a 3-1/2, were overdue from a hike on the Kachina Trail. Deputies and SAR units responded and located the subjects on the Kachina Trail. Rescuers assisted them to a vehicle and drove them to the trail head at Snowbowl where they were reunited with family members.
At 3:50 pm we received a report that a male and female were overdue from their campsite near the Lava Tubes. Deputies patrolled forest service roads in the area. Approximately an hour later the reporting party called to advise that both people had returned to the camp safely.