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The original item was published from 10/12/2021 1:15:40 PM to 11/13/2021 12:00:03 AM.

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Sheriff's Office

Posted on: October 12, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Touched By An Angel Climbing Rescue

Touch by an Angel Rescue Photo 1

For Immediate Release 

Date: October 11, 2021 

Contact: Sgt. Aaron Dick 

Phone: 928-226-5050

 

Flagstaff, AZ –

On October 10th at approximately 6:20 pm the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office received a report of three stranded climbers on the Touched by an Angel climbing area in the Sedona area. The climbers were on their descent from a multi-pitch climb when their rope became stuck, and they were unable to retrieve it to continue rappelling off of the climb.

The climbers were approximately 160 feet above the ground at the top of the first pitch. The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Unit responded to the call and assessed the situation. A plan to rescue the climbers using a hoist equipped Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter was devised and the helicopter responded from Phoenix. Upon arrival to the scene around midnight the DPS helicopter determined that the climbers were in a location that could not be reached by rescuers on the hoist as it would require  more hoist cable than was available on the aircraft.

The climbers were experienced and uninjured and indicated that if they could get another rope and some warm clothing, food, and water they could set up to continue their rappel. A plan was devised to lower the climbers a new rope, clothing, food, water, and a radio from the helicopter using a longer rope from search and rescue. The helicopter returned to the scene and hovered over the climbers to lower the supplies using a 600-foot search and rescue rope at 3:30 am. Once the climbers had the supplies communication was established with them and they were given instructions about how to proceed. It was mutually decided that they would wait until daylight broke to begin rigging the new rope for a rappel.

At approximately 6:30 am the climbers began to rappel and all climbers were off the cliff face by 6:45 am. The climbers were then escorted by Search and Rescue personnel to the trailhead. None of the climbers required medical care.

This challenging rescue was a cooperative effort between the stranded climbers, Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue units from Flagstaff and Phoenix. The Sheriff’s Office thanks all the responders involved for their efforts.                 

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