MEDIA UPDATE - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Flagstaff, AZ – Over the past several months, the number of people visiting the forested areas throughout Coconino County appears to have been on the rise based on the number of Search and Rescue calls received. Between January 1, 2020 and August 16, 2020, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue (SAR) Unit was involved in 103 search and rescue events. This is compared to 93 incidents for the time period of January 1, 2019 and August 16, 2019. With the trend for increased numbers of SAR callouts, it is expected that 2020 will outpace the 155 total SAR Unit callouts of 2019.
Examples of recent SAR callouts are as follows:
Aug 12: SAR responded to assist Sedona Fire District with a fall injury at Slide Rock and an injured hiker on the West Fork of Oak Creek Trail.
Aug 14: SAR and Patrol responded to a lost hiker on Humphrey’s Trail. The hiker was located and reunited with her party at the trail head.
Aug 16: SAR and Patrol assisted Camp Verde Marshal’s Office with response to a reported missing/suicidal person. A deputy and US Forest Service law enforcement attempted to locate the person in the area of Twentynine Mile Lake in Coconino County based upon clues discovered in the investigation. While conducting the attempt to locate, a friend of the subject located the missing person deceased in that area. The incident is under investigation by the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division and the Coconino County Office of the Medical Examiner.
Aug 17: SAR responded to recover the body of a deceased fall victim who fell approximately 80 feet in the area of Sycamore Falls. The subject was hiking in the area and fell over the rim. Search and Rescue personnel rappelled to the subject’s location and determined he was deceased. A technical rope system was constructed to conduct the recovery. The incident is under investigation by the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and the Coconino County Office of the Medical Examiner.
The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Unit would like to remind outdoor users to be prepared for the conditions and activity that they are planning to engage in. Making good decisions about outdoor activities and the individual’s preparedness and limitations is important for a safe experience. Search and Rescue recommends that all outdoor users tell someone where they are going and when they plan to return, check the weather to be prepared for the conditions, and carry some safety essentials in addition to a fully charged cell phone and extra battery. The essentials include water, food, extra clothing for the conditions, navigation equipment (map, compass, GPS), headlamp/flashlight, first aid kit, emergency shelter (space blanket or large leaf bag), pocket knife / multi-tool, and signaling equipment (whistle and signal mirror).