2 rescue calls, 1 false alarm near Lee’s Ferry

Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue helicopter, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Sedona Fire District, St. George News

COCONINO COUNTY, Ariz. – Twice this week, emergency responders rushed to the same area of Paria Canyon in Coconino County, Arizona, near the Utah border, to render aid to distressed hikers.

Sunday, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a sick hiker in Paria Canyon, upstream from Lee’s Ferry.

An Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue helicopter based out of Kingman, Arizona, responded to the area. Crew members on board the chopper were able to locate the hiker and land, according to a press release from the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office.

“The individual was flown out of the canyon and subsequently refused any medical treatment,” the press release said.

Monday at about 5 p.m. MST, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by a Kane County Sheriff’s deputy from Utah regarding the activation of a personal locator beacon spot in Paria Canyon, about 8 miles upstream from Lee’s Ferry, near the same location as the emergency call from the previous night.

“In speaking with family members of the hikers in possession of the device,” the press release said, “investigators learned that the distress signal was a level 2 which indicates the individuals initiating the signal are sick or injured and need help as soon as possible.”

Due to the lateness of the hour, approaching darkness and the rugged terrain in the area, a ground response was not initiated but an air response was, and a DPS Air Rescue helicopter was dispatched from Flagstaff, Arizona.

The helicopter arrived at the area where the locator device had been activated at about 6:30 p.m. MST and commenced an air search.

Crew members spotted the hikers about a mile downstream from the initiation point, and the pilot was able to land safely. Crew members then spoke with the hikers and discovered their rescue efforts had been unnecessary.

“According to one of the individuals,” the press release said, “he was changing the batteries in the spot locater and accidently (sic) activated the level 2 emergency signal.”

None of the hikers required emergency transport, and the DPS helicopter returned to Flagstaff unneeded.

According to the press release:

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Arizona Department of Public Safety for the availability of air rescue helicopters and crews. This vital service is extensively utilized by the Sheriff’s Office throughout Coconino County on search and rescue assignments and a wide variety of other law enforcement related missions.

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