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Flagstaff, AZ - On August 29, 2020 at approximately 1:30 pm, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call about an injured hiker, who was unable to walk, at the top of Humphreys Peak.
Multiple agencies responded to assist in the rescue of the injured hiker. A 49-year-old female from Phoenix, AZ had sustained an unstable ankle injury, when she fell as she started her descent from the peak. Due to the location of the patient and the nature of her injuries, difficult terrain, and incoming thunderstorms, an Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue helicopter was called in to determine if a hoist operation was feasible as Coconino County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Unit personnel began a ground-based response to treat and carry the hiker off the mountain.
After several attempts to land near the hiker, the air rescue operation was temporarily suspended due to weather and high winds. Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue responders sheltered the injured hiker in place just below the peak until the thunderstorms passed.
After determining a hoist operation was feasible due to the improvement in weather, the Air Rescue helicopter conducted a hoist operation and raised the injured hiker from an approximate elevation of 12,400 feet, and the hiker was secured into the helicopter and was transported to Flagstaff Medical Center for treatment of her injuries.
This rescue operation was an example of the close working relationship between the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Unit and the Arizona Department of Public Safety Aviation Bureau.
The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind outdoor users to be prepared for the trip that they are setting out for. Researching the trail conditions, the required equipment, and the weather that could be expected and leaving a detailed trip itinerary with a trusted person are important steps toward a safe outing. # # #