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Four Incidents Require CCSO Search and Rescue Teams

Sedona AZThe Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Unit responded to four incidents over the past week. Due to the level of activity and the nature of the rescues, Search and Rescue determined it necessary to remind those headed outdoors to carry the 10 Essentials for safety.

On the morning of October 23, 2019, Search and Rescue was requested to assist with a search for a 22-year-old male subject from Georgia. The man called his girlfriend and told her that he had been involved in a vehicle accident in the area of Welch Road, west of Williams, Arizona, and was wandering around the woods unable to find a road. The subject, Matthew Pearce, was fleeing Georgia after a probation violation warrant was issued for his arrest.

Search and Rescue assisted in coordinating a search for Pearce using deputies from both Coconino and Yavapai counties, small unmanned aerial systems, the Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue Unit, and SAR volunteers from Coconino County searching on foot and horseback with dogs. Three days later on the morning of October 26, Pearce was located in good condition and taken into custody for the arrest warrant and booked into the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Detention Facility.

On October 23 at 3:20 in the afternoon, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Unit responded along with Summit Fire District and Guardian Medical Transport to an injured hiker at approximately 11,000 feet elevation on the Humphrey’s Peak Trail. Responders were assisted by Arizona Snowbowl personnel and their UTV to transport rescuers. The 57-year-old California female was located at approximately 5:30 in the evening and her leg injury stabilized. She was carried in a litter with a litter wheel to a waiting search and rescue UTV parked inside the Arizona Snowbowl ski area and driven to a waiting ambulance at Agassiz Lodge parking lot. The hiker was transported to Flagstaff Medical Center for treatment of her injuries.

On the afternoon of October 28, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue responded along with Highlands Fire District, Flagstaff Fire Department and Guardian Medical Transport to a climbing accident at the “Pit climbing area” which is accessible from the Canyon Vista Campground on Lake Mary Road. A 23-year-old male from Flagstaff fell approximately 40 feet while lead climbing and sustained back injuries. Rescuers secured the climber in a litter and lowered him to the canyon floor before carrying him to an awaiting ambulance at the campground. He was transported to the Flagstaff Medical Center.

At approximately 8:00 in the evening on October 28, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue responded to a report of a 62-year-old transient male long overdue from a walk. He was last seen at approximately 1:30 in the afternoon. The man sent SOS emails to a companion, but he was not found at the locations indicated on those emails. After sending the emails, it appeared his phone ran out of battery power.

A search was initiated with Search and Rescue personnel, deputies, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue Unit. The man was located at approximately 2:00 a.m. on October 29 after he made contact with his companion by phone and was instructed to call 911. He was located off road in the Cinder Lakes area, approximately three miles southeast of his camp. He was cold, but in otherwise good condition. He was reunited with his companion at their camp.

The Search and Rescue Unit would like to remind outdoor users to be prepared for their activities by researching the weather and carrying the appropriate equipment, including the 10 Essentials in addition to a fully charged cell phone.

The 10 Essentials include water, food, extra warm clothing, navigation equipment (map, compass, GPS), a headlamp, first aid kit, shelter material (space blanket or large leaf bag), a fire-starting kit, pocket knife, and signal equipment (whistle and signal mirror). In addition to carrying the equipment and the knowledge to use the equipment safely, it is important to leave a detailed trip plan with a trusted person.

1 Comment

  1. Geena Maury says:

    I’d like to see these people charged with rescue costs. Why doesn’t that happen? Either they have the essentials or get charged a fine?

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