Forest Lakes, AZ – On 07/23/17 at approximately 11:40AM the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office was notified by the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs that there was a personal locator beacon activation in the bottom of Chevelon Canyon near Telephone Ridge. The Sheriff’s Office, Coconino County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, Forest Lakes Fire District, U.S. Forest Service, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety Central Air Rescue Unit responded to the call. The response was impacted by severe thunderstorms in the area making travel on roads and trails hazardous.
Search and Rescue personnel located an injured fisherman in the bottom of the creek at approximately 5:00 PM. It was determined that the 48 year old male subject has sustained an ankle injury rendering him unable to hike out on his own. He had activated the personal locator beacon shortly after his accident and then established a make shift shelter as storms came through the area. The personal locator beacon transmitted his location via the SARSAT system to the US Air Force Rescue Coordination Center who alerted the State of Arizona of the incident. SAR personnel used radio direction finding equipment to locate the subject.
SAR personnel and USFS personnel treated the subject on scene and then performed a litter carry to a nearby meadow in the bottom of the canyon. DPS Air Rescue responded from Phoenix after the storms had passed and landed in the meadow to pick up the subject at 6:30 PM. The subject was then flown to a waiting ambulance from Forest Lakes Fire District so that he could be transported to Payson Regional Medical Center for treatment.
This incident was another good example of the cooperative relationships between several emergency response organizations. The subject was well prepared for the situation which aided in his comfort while waiting for rescue.
Search and Rescue would like to remind those recreating in the outdoors to be aware of the weather forecast and be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions. In addition it is recommended that everyone recreating in the outdoors carry at least the 10 essentials which includes water, food, extra warm clothing, navigation equipment, headlamp/flashlight, first aid kit, shelter material, fire starting kit, pocket knife/multi-tool, and signaling equipment.