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Personal Locator Beacon saves life

Sedona AZ (August 3, 2017) – On July 23, 2017, at approximately 11:40 a.m., the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office was notified by the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs that a personal locator beacon had been activated in the bottom of Chevelon Canyon, near Telephone Ridge, Forest Lakes, Arizona. The CCSO and its Search and Rescue division, Forest Lakes Fire District, U.S. Forest Service, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety Central Air Rescue Unit coordinated a response to the call.

Severe thunder storms created hazardous travel for responders on the roads and trails.

CCSO Search and Rescue personnel located an injured fisherman with a disabling ankle injury at approximately 5:00 p.m. in the creek bottom. Shortly after his accident, the forty-eight year old fisherman activated a personal locator beacon and established a makeshift shelter as storms came through the area. The beacon transmitted his location via the SARSAT system to the U.S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center which alerted the State of Arizona of the incident. CCSO SAR personnel then used radio direction finding equipment to locate the victim.

SAR personnel and USFS personnel treated the man on scene and then performed a litter carry to a nearby meadow in the bottom of the canyon. DPS Air Rescue responded from Phoenix after the storms had passed through and landed in the meadow at 6:30 PM. The subject was then flown to a waiting ambulance from Forest Lakes Fire District so that he could be transported to Payson Regional Medical Center for treatment.

This incident was another good example of the cooperative relationships between several emergency response organizations. The subject was well prepared for the situation which aided in his comfort while waiting for rescue.

CCSO Search and Rescue reminds those enjoying the outdoors to be aware of the weather forecast and be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions. In addition, it is recommended that everyone hiking or  recreating in the outdoors carry at least the ten essentials: water, food, extra warm clothing, navigation equipment, headlamp/flashlight, first aid kit, shelter material, fire starting kit, pocket knife/multi-tool, and signaling equipment.

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