Forest Lakes—On Saturday, August 31, at approximately 11:30 p.m. the Coconino County Sheriff’s Deputy assigned to the Forest Lakes area and Forest Lakes Fire Department personnel responded to Forest Service Road 237 at milepost seven on the report of a thirteen year-old boy who fell an unknown distance. At the time of the fall the child and his father were on a Bear Hunt in an area that is located approximately 1,000 feet below the top of Cheveleon Canyon in very rugged and steep terrain. Upon their arrival Emergency First Responders determined they were not equipped to safely access the location where the child came to rest.
The Deputy immediately requested the assistance of the Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue Helicopter, the Gila County Sheriff’s Office Tonto Rim Technical Rope Rescue Team, and the Coconino County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Technical Rescue Team. Due to inclement weather including rain and thunder storms DPS helicopters stationed in Flagstaff and Phoenix both responded. Considering the serious nature of the child’s injuries and the inclement weather it was reasoned that with both helicopters responding at least one would be able to reach the location in a safe and timely manner.
Immediately following the arrival of the first rescue helicopter a crew member who was flown to the bottom of the canyon began to hike up to the victim’s location. Once he reached the victim the DPS Medic immediately administered advanced life support for injuries the child sustained as a result of the fall.
The child was removed from the canyon by the Short Haul method during which the victim was secured in medical basket and suspended underneath the helicopter as he was flown to a location where the victim was safely lowered to the ground.
Due to the inclement weather commercial medical air transport was not an option. Once the helicopter landed the aircraft was reconfigured to support a long distance medical flight. The helicopter carrying the victim flew to the Payson Airport where the airship was re-fueled.
The child was then flown to a Medical Trauma Center located in the Phoenix area. The child was then flown to a Medical Trauma Center located in the Phoenix area.
The second DPS Helicopter short hauled the child’s father to a location where he too could be safely lowered to the ground and eventually flew him to a DPS Air Rescue Hanger where he was transported by ground to the medical center where his child was being treated. The child received emergency medical care for serious head, facial and leg injuries.