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Flagstaff, AZ – Coconino County Sheriff’s Deputies and Search and Rescue responded to over 36 search and rescue calls in first 23 days of September. The calls ranged from Southern Utah to the Mogollon Rim. Calls ranged from requiring the response of the Search and Rescue unit to being handled by patrol deputies who were able to respond to the area and locate the lost or missing person. The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and its Search and Rescue Unit by state statute is responsible for all Search and Rescue events in the county, and our response regularly draws upon assistance from other agencies who we thank for sharing their resources.
The Search and Rescue events were kicked off with a busy Labor Day weekend during which time the Sheriff’s Office responded to over a dozen search and rescue calls over that weekend alone. Most of the Labor Day weekend calls were summarized in an earlier press release and are recapped here with the addition of some information. Following the recap also are summaries of the additional calls responded to throughout September 2015.
Friday, September 4, 2015
At 12:48 pm CCSO, CCSO Search and Rescue, Department of Public Safety officers and the Department of Public Safety Air Rescue helicopter based in Flagstaff responded to the report of an armed 18 year old male who exited a vehicle driven by family on State Route 89A and ran into the forest in Oak Creek Canyon. 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 CCSO, CCSO Search and Rescue, US Forest Service, DPS Air Rescue out of Flagstaff, and Forest Lakes Fire Department, responded to 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 area of Woods Canyon Lake west of Forest Lakes. Responders included. 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; they had become disoriented and lost in the forest.
At 1:23 pm CCSO and US Forest Service responded to a report of two adults and two teenagers who were overdue from an ATV ride on the Kaibab National Forest near Perkinsville Road. While deputies were enroute, Forest Service employees located the missing persons.
At 7:11 pm CCSO, CCSO Search and Rescue, and DPS Air Rescue out of Flagstaff responded to 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, his son called 911 to report him overdue. During a break in the thunderstorms, DPS Air Rescue was able to fly over the area and located the subject at about 10:20 pm. The hiker lost the trail after dark and finally sat down and waited for several hours. The DPS helicopter was able to spot the hikers light and rescue personnel walked in and assisted the subject down the mountain. He was off trail in the Snowbowl Ski Area approximately 0.9 miles east of the trail head. He did not request any medical treatment and was reunited with his son.
At 8:59 pm CCSO responded to a call of a party of 8 overdue hikers who had been hiking all day on the West Fork Trail. The call was cleared when the group was located by others in their party.
Sunday, September 6, 2015
At 1:26 pm CCSO and CCSO Search and Rescue responded to an ATV accident at Pink Bowl which is located in the Cinder Hills OHV area of Flagstaff. The ATV rider was killed when he rolled his ATV. The area was difficult to access due to the deep cinders. Deputies and Search and Rescue personnel were able to reach the deceased victim with off road vehicle and recovered his body for transport to the medical examiner.
At 3:18 pm CCSO Search and Rescue, Sedona Fire, DPS Air Rescue from Kingman, and Yavapai County Sheriff’s Helicopter responded to 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. The YCSO helicopter crew located the subject by air and guided ground crews 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 AB Young Trail. DPS Air Rescue 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 CCSO responded to 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 a CCSO 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 CCSO/CCSO Search and Rescue Heli-Rescue personnel assisted Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office and DPS Air Rescue with a technical rescue of an injured climber on Granite Mountain in the Prescott area. The person was injured when he fell and was impaled by an Agave plant. Rescuers rendered first aid to the victim and short hauled him with the helicopter to a waiting ambulance. He was transported to a local area hospital for treatment.
At 12:42 pm CCSO, CCSO Search and Rescue, US Forest Service (law enforcement and fire personnel), and DPS Air Rescue out of Phoenix responded to a report of a 10 year old overdue from an ATV ride near their campsite in the Sawmill Springs area about 10 miles south of Mormon Lake area. The boy was camping in the area with his family when he left for a ride on an ATV. When the boy didn’t return, the family searched for him, finding the ATV abandon for no apparent reason. Responding searchers learned the boy was with an 18 year old male when they rode out of camp; this information was not shared by the reporting party earlier due to a language barrier. At 3:21 pm DPS Air Rescue from Phoenix located the subjects in good condition approximately three miles away when they walked out of the forest onto a forest service road. Ground searchers transported both subjects back to camp. Neither subject required medical attention.
At 12:51 pm CCSO and CCSO Search and Rescue responded to a report from a woman that her husband and two sons, ages 5 and 3-1/2, were overdue from a hike on the Kachina Trail on the San Francisco Peaks. Deputies and SAR units responded quickly located the subjects who had become turned around on the trail. Searchers identified their location and escorted them off the trail and back to the trail head where they were reunited with family members.
At 3:50 pm CCSO responded to 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.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
At 7:07 pm CCSO responded to a male who had become lost in the forest near the Mormon Lake area. The responding deputy located the individual and assisted him in getting back to his vehicle.
Saturday, September 12, 2015
Just after midnight, CCSO received a report of a hunter separated from the rest of his hunting party. The call was cleared within a few minutes when the partied called back advising they were reunited.
At 8:00 am CCSO received a report of an overdue party last known to be in the area of FS7 and FS124 roads. The person was reported overdue by a day. While a deputy was enroute, the call was cleared within a few minutes when the reporting party advised the person was no longer overdue.
At 11:52 am CCSO responded to a call in which a family, including their 10 and 15 year old daughters, had become disoriented while hiking on the Cookstove Trail. A deputy located the lost subjects and escorted them back to their campsite at Pine Flats Campground.
Sunday, September 13, 2015
Around noon, CCSO received a report of an elderly female who had not been seen at her campsite in Forest Lakes for over a day and night. The report was made by a concerned person who was camping near the woman. While the deputy was enroute, the call was cleared after when the reporting party called back advising the woman had returned. Medics continued to respond to evaluate any possible medical conditions.
On this same day, CCSO received a report of a 34 year old woman who was missing from her campsite near in the Blue Ridge area. The reporting party cancelled his request for assistance and advised he found his wife walking near the highway as he drove roads looking for her.
At 6:43 pm CCSO received a report of a woman camping at Cave Springs Campground who was expected back on Thursday. The responding deputy and camp host were able to locate the female and have her contact the reporting party.
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
At 3:30 pm CCSO responded to a report of 31 year old female hiking alone in the Red Mountain area who was lost. The hiker was near the end of battery life on her cell phone and managed to text a friend. The hiker apparently was able to find her way back to her vehicle and the responding deputy was able to check her welfare when he saw her vehicle.
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
At 10:14 am, CCSO and CCSO Search and Rescue responded to a report from the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service of overdue hikers in the Paria Canyon. Due to flooding that had occurred in the area, rangers and family were concerned that the hikers had not returned or signed out on the trail log sheets. Interviews of other hikers coming out of the area gave reports of high water and flooding in areas. Deputies were able to locate the hikers’ vehicles at the trailheads confirming the hikers had not left the area. CCSO coordinated the search and received assistance from DPS Air Rescue out of Kingman. The overdue hikers were spotted by the helicopter crew on the afternoon 09/17/15, picked up, and transported via helicopter to Lees Ferry. They had become delayed due to the floods and were short on supplies.
At 10:58 am, CCSO and CCSO Search and Rescue responded to another report of possible overdue hikers in the Paria Canyon Area. A vehicle parked outside of the camping and trailhead area was found to be registered to a woman out of Indiana who had a permit to hike in Paria Canyon. Follow up by deputies revealed that the hiking party had another vehicle parked at the Lees Ferry end of the trail. DPS Air Rescue assisted in the search and located the hikers. The hikers declined assistance because they were near the end of their hike.
On Wednesday September 16, eleven CCSO Search and Rescue personnel assisted the Mohave County (AZ) Sheriff’s Office and the Washington County (UT) Sheriff’s Office in the search for flood victims in Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona.
At 8:30 pm, CCSO responded to a male camping off FS 535 who had become lost while using his GPS. The responding deputy was able to locate the subject and bring him back to his campsite.
Thursday, September 17, 2015
At 11:11 pm the previous night, CCSO and CCSO Search and Rescue responded to a missing 41 year old elk hunter in the area east of Ashurst Lake. The hunter was last seen predawn that morning and failed to show up at a meeting spot at 7:00 pm. The responding deputy was able to track the missing hunter to a location where some tracks were found. DPS Ranger from Kingman and additional searchers continued to look for the missing hunter. Around 5:30 am the missing person was located. He had become disoriented and had sought shelter in a vacant camp of other hunters.
At 1:50 pm, CCSO responded to a report of a 68 year old male subject who was camping in the Forest Lakes area. The report came from the subject’s wife who received a call from her husband saying he had become ill while hiking. The deputy was able to make contact with the subject who made it back to his vehicle and received medical attention later from Crystal Creek Fire Department.
At 6:45 pm, CCSO Search and Rescue assisted Flagstaff Fire and Guardian Medical with the rescue of a 29 year old male who was injured while climbing in an area known as the “Pit” which is located off Lake Mary Road. The victim was transported to a Flagstaff Medical Center with minimal chest, head and arm injury.
At 9:14 pm, CCSO responded to a report of an overdue hunter in the Happy Jack area. The responding deputy was able to locate the hunter at his camp and check his welfare.
Saturday, September 19, 2015
At 10:17 am, CCSO responded to a report of two 12 year olds missing from a campground in the Forest Lakes area. The two subjects were located without incident.
At 11:08 am, CCSO, CCSO Search and Rescue, and DPS Air Rescue out of Kingman responded to a report of a 40 year old female with a possible broken ankle on the Humphreys Peak Trail. Search and Rescue personnel hiked to the victim and assisted the victim back to the saddle of Humphreys Peak. The DPS helicopter landed at the saddle and picked up the victim to transport her to the Flagstaff Medical Center.
At 12:39 pm, CCSO, CCSO Search and Rescue, Guardian Medical, and a US Forest Service fire crew responded to a report of a 50 year old female who had possibly broken her ankle while hiking Red Mountain northwest of Flagstaff. Rescuers hiked to the victim and assisted her down the mountain. The victim refused further medical care once at the trailhead
At 4:15 pm, CCSO, CCSO Search and Rescue, two DPS Air Rescue helicopters (one from Kingman that evening and one from Flagstaff the next morning), Sedona Fire, and Guardian Medical responded to a 51 year old male who fell in a steep drainage while hiking the Wilson Mountain Trail in Oak Creek Canyon. Sedona Fire personnel reached the victim first and determined he had a fractured pelvis. Due to nightfall, the victim could not be removed by helicopter, so Sedona Fire personnel stayed with the victim overnight after supplies were dropped to them by the DPS helicopter. On the morning of 9/20/15, a CCSO Heli-Rescue Technician rappelled to the scene and the victim was short hauled to the Slide Rock parking lot. The victim was then transported to Flagstaff Medical Center.
Around 12:30 pm CCSO deputies and CCSO Search and Rescue responded to a report of a vehicle abandoned in a trailhead parking lot on the north side of the San Francisco Peaks. Registration of the vehicle linked it to two missing persons out of Flagstaff. Searchers conducted a general search of the area, but did not locate the missing people. Detectives also searched the vehicle looking for clues as to the missing persons’ whereabouts.
Sunday, September 20, 2015
At 2:00 am, CCSO responded to the report of a 27 year old female who was supposed to be visiting friends hunting in Unit 10 which is west of State Route 64 but never arrived. Deputies checked with surrounding agencies regarding possible accidents or contact with the person or her vehicle. A deputy eventually was able to get in touch with the missing person via phone.
At 4:37 pm, CCSO and CCSO Search and Rescue responded to a call of a female hiker who was hiking with a group but became distressed because of her fear of heights. The group was hiking on Humphreys Peak. The call was cleared when the reporting party texted back advising she was back on the trail and no longer in need of assistance.
At 10:41 pm, CCSO and CCSO Search and Rescue responded to overdue motorcyclists who were spending the day on the Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff. The motorcyclists were unfamiliar with the area. The responding deputy was able to eventually track down the location of each of the riders who had become separated with some ending up off Lake Mary Road and another by Munds Park.
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
At 8:45 am CCSO responded to a report of an overdue 40 year old male who had been boating with a friend at Lake Powell. The overdue party returned later to his home than expected and indicated his plans simply had changed.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
CCSO and CCSO Search and Rescue, including two dog teams, continued search efforts at the Abineau/Bear Jaw Trail for two missing persons who had left information about their intended suicides. The vehicle of one of the missing people had been located at the trailhead by US Forest Service on 9/19/15 who noticed it had appeared to be abandoned there. At that time, Search and Rescue conducted an initial search of the area. During the follow up search, the two were located deceased by gunshot wound; no foul play is suspected, but investigation is still ongoing.
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Media Contact, Commander Rex Gilliland, 928-226-5025