AZ Rescuers Stay Night with Injured Hiker

Coconino County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue conducts overnight rescue off Fat Mans Loop Trail on Mount Elden.
Coconino County (AZ) Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue conducts overnight rescue off Fat Mans Loop Trail on Mount Elden. (Provided photo.)

Brady Wheeler

The Arizona Daily Sun, Flagstaff

(MCT)

A search for an injured man on Mount Elden turned into an overnight rescue operation as daylight faded and weather took a turn for the worse.

The hiker called first responders on Thursday, Feb. 11, around 5 p.m. after breaking his ankle — just before his phone died. When deputies and firefighters began the search they could hear the man’s voice, but had trouble locating him as darkness set in.

The search crew attempted to use information from the initial call to pinpoint the man’s location. After attempts to locate him on the ground failed, the Arizona Department of Public Safety was called to provide aerial assistance.

A DPS helicopter was eventually able to locate the hiker, who was trapped in rough terrain. The search crews considered an aerial extraction of the hiker, but worsening conditions resulted in the effort being delayed until the morning. By this point, the sunlight had completely vanished and winds were picking up.

First responders decided that a paramedic with the Flagstaff Fire Department along with two volunteers from the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (SAR) unit would be flown to the top of the mountain to spend the cold winter night with the hiker.

The Arizona Daily Sun spoke with one of the overnight rescuers, CCSO SAR volunteer Adam Barnhart, who explained the process of locating and comforting the hiker, and gave details about his experience as a volunteer.


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