Hiker tumbles, rescued in Grand Canyon

A injured 68-year-old female hiker who had fallen off a trail was rescued Monday by a team composed of the National Park Service, Coconino County Sheriff's Search and Rescue, Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue Helicopter and Flagstaff Fire Department.

Sunday Nov. 2, the woman from Tucson was hiking the Clear Creek Trail in the Grand Canyon with two other hikers. Around 7 p.m., the hiker slipped and fell down-slope off the trail. The hiker's fall stopped with her head down-slope and about three feet from a cliff's edge that dropped down 80 feet to the creek bed below.

When the hiker attempted to recover and move, she would slide further down slope due to very loose soil and rocks. The victim, fearing that she would slide over the cliff edge, lay still as her two friends activated a satellite emergency notification device or SPOT device.

The National Park Service at the Grand Canyon's South Rim was advised of the emergency notification and sent a ranger to the area of the SPOT alert. The park service ranger hiked for six hours from Phantom Ranch, reaching the victim around 3 a.m. Rangers determined the victim had suffered some type of injury to her leg.

Due to the dangerous and unstable ground, the Park Service requested assistance from the Coconino County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue Unit and the Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue helicopter, who have the capability to conduct night operations.

The DPS helicopter flew two heli-rescue members, one from the Coconino County Sheriff's Office and the other from the Flagstaff Fire Department into the canyon where they were able to land about a mile away from the victim. Rescuers hiked to the area where they had to secure ropes and rappel down to the victim. The victim was secured by a harness and then "short hauled" or flown out with a rescuer.

The victim was flown to the Grand Canyon Heli-base at the South Rim where she was transferred to a ground ambulance and taken to the Grand Canyon Clinic. She was treated for a fractured ankle and hypothermia and later released.


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