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Flagstaff, AZ; On April 12th at approximately 6:30 pm the Sheriff’s Office received a report of a SPOT beacon alert in the West Clear Creek area. The owner of the SPOT beacon, a 45 year old male from Phoenix, was on a solo canyoneering trip in Wilbur Canyon. A Department of Public Safety Air Rescue helicopter was requested to search the area while ground based search and rescue resources were responding. DPS Air Rescue located the subject on a steep ridge where he appeared to be stranded on a cliff.
Search and Rescue personnel hiked into West Clear Creek and climbed up to the patient on the ridge while another team hiked to an area on the rim above the subject. At approximately 2:30 am the team above the subject made voice contact and determined that the subject was injured. He had apparently fallen 100-200 feet while canyoneering. SAR personnel were able to climb to the subject’s location at approximately 4:00 am and provided initial care.
Based on the subject’s injuries it was determined that a helicopter short haul rescue would be the best way to transport the subject out of the area to a waiting medical helicopter so that he could be transported to the hospital. A short haul rescue involves the subject and rescuer suspended 150 feet below the helicopter and flown from the scene to a location where the subject can be transferred to another medical provider.
At about 7:00 am the short haul rescue was completed with a search and rescue member as the short haul technician. The subject was then transferred to Guardian Air Transport and flown to John C Lincoln North Mountain hospital in Phoenix for treatment of serious but non-life threatening injuries.
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Media and Public Contact: Gerry Blair, Coconino County Sheriff's Office, 928-226-5089