Rescuers perform ‘risky maneuver’ in Virgin River Gorge to rescue dad, 5-year-old son

Arizona Department of Public Safety stock image | Photo by Michael Durrant, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A 37-year-old man and his 5-year-old son were rescued Sunday evening after they became stranded while hiking near Cedar Pockets in the Virgin River Gorge.

“They had become stranded when returning from their hike to an old plane wreck site up Sullivan Canyon,” Mohave County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Trish Carter said in a statement. “They hiked up a hill and became disoriented in the dark.”

The father told officials that he and his son had ended up on a cliff after taking a wrong path and that they were unable to get out, Carter said.

“Due to the hazardous terrain around them, they did not want to risk becoming injured attempting the descent,” Carter said. “At this point, with intermittent cell phone service, they were able to call for help.”

Search and rescue crews responded to the Cedar Pockets area to search for the father and son at approximately 7:30 p.m. Sunday, according to officials.

Technical rope rescue teams responded from the Washington County and Mohave County sheriff’s offices, along with the Arizona Department Public Safety Ranger helicopter out of Kingman.

The pilot of the Ranger helicopter “was able to perform a risky ‘one-skid maneuver’ and rescue the stranded hikers,” Carter said.

A one-skid landing is a technique used in rugged terrain and steep slopes where the topography prevents a normal landing with both skids on the ground.

The father and son were subsequently flown to safety, Carter said.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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1 Comment

  • ScanMeister November 1, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    The teams have been very busy this year with many SAR events. Thanks to all those dedicated volunteers! We need to support them.

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