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Unprepared Hiker Airlifted to Safety

Hiker alone with no food or water, cell phone battery dying, wearing shorts, shirt and sandals, completely lost and unable to retrace steps, did not want to stray due to possible drop offs hidden by heavy brush.

Sedona AZ (April 27, 2017) – A “hiker alone and stuck with no food or water, cell phone battery dying, wearing shorts, shirt and sandals, completely lost and unable to retrace steps, does not want to stray due to possible drop offs hidden by heavy brush” will cause this:

The original call came in April 24, 2017, just before 2:00 in the afternoon. The comment above is a synopsis from call notes by Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office dispatchers logged during a phone call from a 26-year-old female requesting help. A Sheriff’s Forest Patrol Deputy began coordinating the rescue. After time passed while attempting to gather accurate cell phone GPS coordinates, it was determined the stranded hiker was located on high ground in a remote area northwest of Devil’s Bridge, Sedona. It was quickly established that timely ground access to the hiker’s position would be very difficult and thus the use of a helicopter was requested.

A crew from Department of Public Safety (DPS) Ranger Unit was notified and arrived in the vicinity just before 5:00 p.m. The Yavapai County Search and Rescue Back Country Team, trained in technical rescue, was called to assist. It took a combination of effort from the Ranger crew and Back Country Team to bring this hiker to safety. After flying the target area, the hiker was spotted by the Ranger crew on the side of a rock face. A member of the Back Country Team was airlifted to her position and safely secured her to a special rig prior to the airlift rescue. Around 6:30 p.m., the hiker was off the mountain and meeting with a family member.

As YCSO has emphasized so many times in the past, hiking preparedness is a must for everyone venturing out into the rugged wilderness. This rescued hiker admitted relying on third party unverified information as she attempted to return from the area around Devils Bridge. Unfamiliarity with your surroundings and lack of researching such an adventure can and has been deadly for others in the past. This hiker WISELY called for help, and remained stationary, upon realizing she was lost in very rugged and steep terrain. She was also fortunate her cell phone had sufficient battery time and enabled to send GPS coordinates. An alternative to alerting others to your plight can be as simple as a toy whistle which can be heard long distances in such topography.

YCSO Sheriff Scott Mascher thanks the DPS Ranger team and the Back Country Team who continue to risk their lives for complete strangers.

Other issues of concern make this a ‘teachable moment’ –

Hiking alone will exponentially increase the risk in terrain such as this. If she had been injured and unable to call for help, a second person could have been her lifeline. Additionally, it is important to share your wilderness plans with others who can call when you fail to return by an agreed timeline.

This hiker’s clothing was completely inappropriate for the type of terrain. Shorts and sandals only increase the chance for injury is such environments.

Please take time to review this comprehensive website on hiking safety provided by the US Forest Service.

YCSO Sheriff Scott Mascher would again like to thank the DPS Ranger team and the Back Country volunteers who continue to risk their lives for complete strangers.

Citizens may contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website at www.ycsoaz.gov.

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13 Comments

  1. Mel in Sedona AZ says:

    This is why we pay our men and women of SFD well because it’s their lives on the line and they are worth it. Think the next time you have a heart attack or have an accident needing transportation whether that moment in time is worth a a few dollars more to keep you alive to thrive. Their lives matter, our lives matter. I want my EMS and firemen to be world class. How about you?

  2. @mel says:

    Have you looked at the books for the Fire District? The property owners pay for services not the tourists. Guess what they don’t know how to manage themselves. They run negative and have used up all their back up money. Now they have to get a more money. You’re paying at a higher level yet they don’t give you more for all the extra funds they get.
    Oh didn’t you hear about the fireman who started a fire while barbecuing? Who paid for that? We did. No improving around here. Not getting my vote.Why don’t you go over and get those books? You’ll see the millions of debt they have accrued. Really bad managment!

  3. @ Mel in Sedona AZ says:

    What does the Fire Department have to do with the article????? They didn’t do the rescue ” A crew from Department of Public Safety (DPS) Ranger Unit was notified and arrived in the vicinity just before 5:00 p.m. The Yavapai County Search and Rescue Back Country Team, trained in technical rescue, was called to assist. It took a combination of effort from the Ranger crew and Back Country Team to bring this hiker to safety”

    Geeze people the how many try and show you. They think if they say it enough you’ll believe them.

    The fire department is limited and doesn’t do everything you think they do. Vote No on the bond.

  4. West sedona resident says:

    Hey Mel

    You know the person that replied to you is the same person who posts using 10-15 different names(sometimes in one day)

    They are crazy……pay no attention

    The hate everything….FYI

  5. @@Mel says:

    The property owners pay for themselves AND THE HOTELS pay for the tourists. Go ahead and compare to see how much more in tax each hotel pays to the fire department it will make your head spin.

    It was those looser recalled board members that were carrying the department by “using up all of their back up money” under the guise of “cutting tax” in the hopes of forcing the downsize of the department. THAT’S THE REASON our fire stations have fallen in to disrepair. Those three recalled board members plus the fourth held illegal meetings behind closed doors to conspire to hurt this fire department. That’s a fact, there’s no question about that.

    The three of those recalled board members should have been tarred, feathered and ridden out of town on the back of a buckboard.

  6. @@@Mel says:

    The property owners pay for all of it. The city debt, the fire district and school district debt. The Hotels contribute less then they take. The chambers brings in day trippers with cost the property owners.

  7. West Sedona Resident says:

    The employees of the local government agencies such as city, and fire have operated with millions, been over paid, and had a free hand with your money,taxpayers.

    Just as @@Mel has stated that the board had illegal meetings so has the city council. It appears that anyone that tries to control these government agencies and control their spending can’t survive the real managers of the region.The SM. But citizens if you go along say yes sir and never say anything to improve the region then you’ll be fine.

    Both the city and the fire district (two completely separate government groups are funded from your taxes.The Taxpayers. They come and go, spend millions more than what they receive and kick $$$$ to those that support their agenda.

    All taxes collected by businesses are not owned by the businesses but by the Taxpayers. Businesses have every opportunity to increase their prices. Businesses can charge service fees, and resort fees also. Just because they collect taxes doesn’t make it theirs.

    @@Mel the law is that the hotels collect taxes that doesn’t mean they contribute. Hotels don’t pay for tourists unless you contribute more than the law requires. If you look at real costs you find that the hotels pay nowhere near the real of impacts of tourism. You take more than you contribute.

    In looking over the Fire District spending, the FD spends more then they bring in. The disrepair is due to bad management and overpaid reckless spending. Those buildings could have easily been maintained by the crew in their down time. Yes sir they sitting around, jobs need to be reviewed and there is no reason by they couldn’t do their own maintenance and repairs.

    Should they have to perform within their budget? It is time for these highly paid (overpaid imo) who have outrages benefits be held accountable for their performance?

  8. Is Solo Hiking Dangerous? – The Older Adventurer says:

    […] this recent news story, Unprepared Hiker Airlifted to Safety, the headline states the problem up front. This, however, doesn’t stop the blame being placed […]

    http://olderadventurerdotcom/2017/05/is-solo-hiking-dangerous/

  9. JD says:

    Agree with the comment from @@Mel, but suggest including recalling the seven current city council meetings, and together with the Chamber of Commerce & Lodging Council board of directors, tar, feather and ride them out of town as well. If we clean house, let’s please include City Hall. In both instances, Fire District and incorporated Sedona, it is the residents that are the losers.

  10. Anonymous says:

    It appears that someone who hijacked my name…

    I’m a fan of Sedona Fire…
    Don’t mind paying taxes to an organization that helps people..

    Also the person who hijacked my name(the same who posts using 10-15 different names) writes half truths and outright lies..

  11. West sedona resident says:

    Anonymous
    Was me WSR. I forgot to fill that in I guess

  12. Larry S. says:

    I’ve often wondered why these rescues take so long (4.5 hours)? They had gps coordinates plus how far can a hiker in sandals get? I would think one or two able- bodied individuals, familiar with the area would be able to get to her and others on foot before SAR get all their toys out. Yes?

  13. […] this recent news story, Unprepared Hiker Airlifted to Safety, the headline states the problem up front. This, however, doesn’t stop the blame being placed […]

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