Sedona AZ (February 7, 2020) – Wednesday afternoon, February 5, Sedona Fire District was dispatched for an injured hiker near the top of the AB Young trail in Oak Creek Canyon. After arriving on scene SFD rescuers located the injured hiker in extremely rugged terrain. With the low temperatures and darkness approaching, the on scene commander requested a helicopter from DPS to assist with the rescue.
DPS helicopter, Ranger 56, out of Flagstaff arrived on scene and coordinated with SFD crews on the ground. Utilizing a Helicopter Rescue Technician (HRT) from Sedona Fire District, preparations were made to extract the patient using a short-haul technique where the patient and HRT are extracted on a rope below the aircraft and transported to a more accessible area.
During the rescue, another hiker that was with the injured party began making their way down the trail towards the trailhead. During the descent, the non-injured hiker suffered a 20-foot fall becoming the second victim of the response. Due to their location at the time of injury, they were able to be assisted down the trail by SFD and Coconino County Search and Rescue personnel and did not require a second aerial rescue.
“In addition to having qualified HRT personnel we are lucky to have such great partners as DPS and Coconino County Search and Rescue. Without those resources it is likely that one or both of the injured parties would have spent the night on the mountain exposed to the elements,” said SFD Battalion Chief Jordan Baker, “Conditions were such that both could have suffered from severe hypothermia in addition to their injuries.”
DPS Ranger flew the first patient and HRT to Slide Rock State Park. The patient was then transported by ground ambulance to Sedona Emergency Center for treatment of lower extremity injuries. After being assisted to the trailhead, the second patient was also transported by ground ambulance to Sedona Emergency Center for treatment.
Sedona Fire District wants to take this opportunity to remind everyone that when planning a hike or other outing, it is important to be prepared for current and expected weather conditions in case the unthinkable happens and you are forced to spend unplanned time out in the elements. “Had the victims been forced to spend the night in the cold weather, things could have turned out much worse,” said Battalion Chief Baker.