Published by The Bee News

September 16, 2023

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About 6pm Friday (9/15) evening, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office received a call for help from someone using an Apple device through a satellite connection. There was a group of five friends who were backpacking on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park along the Kanab Creek when one of them, a 63-year-old male, had fallen and had a traumatic injury to his shoulder that needed emergency medical attention and evacuation. Search and Rescue was activated, along with the DPS Western Air Rescue helicopter from Kingman – flying a rescue specialist and medic to the location provided by the Apple device. As the helicopter arrived on scene, it was very dark with tall canyon walls surrounding Kanab Creek – providing a tight and limited landing area for the helicopter. The helicopter landed about a quarter mile from the injured hiker’s location. Once landed, the crew made their way through the creek and boulders to the hiker. He was stabilized and then assisted back to the helicopter and then transported to a Flagstaff hospital for further medical evaluation. When asked about the other four hikers and their whereabouts, it was learned that the injury occurred around 2pm earlier in the day. Once contact for help using the Apple device was confirmed by the hiking group, the other four hikers left with the Apple device and continued on their backpacking adventures – leaving the injured hiker behind alone. They had already been backpacking about 3 or 4 days and had another 3 or 4 more days ahead of them. It is unclear what time the original call for help was made from the Apple device. It was fortunate that the helicopter was able to rescue this injured hiker, as it would have taken an extended period of time for ground crews to reach his location. Search and Rescue encourages everyone to never leave someone behind alone and whenever possible, to stay with them and ensure they are rescued before continuing on their journey. Great job by everyone!

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