Multiple agencies responded to assist in the rescue of the injured climber. A 34-year-old female from Phoenix, AZ had sustained multiple serious injuries, including a back injury, when she fell approximately 40 feet as she began her rappel. Due to the location of the patient and the nature of her injuries, Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue and Sedona Fire District Technical Rope Team members established a technical rope system to lower a rescuer and basket litter to the patient. Highlands Fire and Guardian Medical personnel, along with a Deputy Sheriff, had hiked to the patient’s location to provide initial treatment and help prepare the patient to be raised by the rope system.
Due to the extent of climber’s injuries and difficult terrain, an Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue helicopter was called in to determine if a short-haul operation would be feasible. After determining a short haul operation was in the best interest of rescuers and the injured climber, a Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Coordinator, who also is a member of the Northern Arizona Regional Heli-Rescue Team, and the climber were short-hauled to the Oak Creek Vista parking lot. From there, the climber was transferred to a Guardian Air Transport helicopter and was transported to Flagstaff Medical Center for treatment of her injuries.
This incident was another example of the close working relationships between Northern Arizona public safety agencies.