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Northern Coconino County, AZ – On Monday, September 28, 2015 at about 5:00 pm, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by a Kane County Utah Sheriff’s Deputy who advised of a personal locater beacon spot activation in Paria Canyon approximately 8 miles upstream from Lees Ferry. In speaking with family members of the hikers in possession of the device, investigators learned that the distress signal was a level 2 which indicates the individuals initiating the signal are sick or injured and need help as soon as possible. Due to the late hour of the day, the impending darkness, and the rugged terrain, a ground response was not commenced, but an air response was. The Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue Helicopter based in Flagstaff left the airport at 5:30 pm and, at 6:30 pm, arrived at the location where the device was activated from and began an air search. Crew members spotted the hikers approximately 1 mile downstream from the initiation point. The pilot was able to safely land the helicopter and crew members made contact with the group of hikers. According to one of the individuals, he was changing the batteries in the spot locater and accidently activated the level 2 emergency signal. None of the party members required transport and the DPS helicopter returned to Flagstaff.
On the day prior, the Sheriff’s Office was made aware of a sick hiker in Paria Canyon very near the area described in the above response. The DPS helicopter based in Kingman responded, located the ill hiker, and landed. The individual was flown out of the canyon and subsequently refused any medical treatment.
The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Arizona Department of Public Safety for the availability of air rescue helicopters and crews. This vital service is extensively utilized by the Sheriff’s Office throughout Coconino County on search and rescue assignments and a wide variety of other law enforcement related missions.
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Media Contact: Gerry Blair, Coconino County Sheriff's Office, 928-226-5089