A 15-year-old boy was rescued Thursday morning, Jan. 11, from Capitol Butte in Sedona after spending the night trapped on a ledge, said Dwight D’Evelyn, spokesman for the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.
The previous day, at about 9 a.m., the teen left home alone, wearing only a small pack with minimal water and food, leggings, shorts, a hooded sweater, baseball cap and running shoes.
He planned to hike to the top of Capitol Butte, a long time goal, D’Evelyn said, but once there, he became disoriented and could not find the route back down. At approximately 12:30 p.m., the teen called 911 for help, but his phone’s battery ran out shortly after making contact with a call taker.
When he called 911, his GPS coordinates were identified and he was told to remain stationary and allow rescue personnel to come to him, D’Evelyn said..
At approximately 2:30 p.m. the Verde Search and Rescue team was deployed in the area of Vultee Arch Road nearest to the teen’s last known coordinates. The Yavapai County Search and Rescue Team (YCSRT) was also called out. Due to weather, a Department of Public Safety Ranger helicopter was unable to respond and assist in search efforts.
An hour into the search, the boy was located. Ground rescuers began an attempt to reach the teen around 7 p.m., but after three hours, the ground teams were unable to get safely to the teen.
The weather had cleared, and the DPS Ranger overflew the boy’s position, reporting that he was inaccessible by air or ground due to darkness.
The helicopter lowered a backpack to the teen containing necessary supplies to survive the night including warm clothing, hand warmers, water and a radio.
A YCSO Forest Patrol Deputy remained on scene throughout the night to maintain radio communications along with a visual observation of the teen until he could be rescued in the morning at first light.
Thursday morning, the helicopter returned and lowered a YCSRT crew member to the boy on a cable, then lifted them both off the mountain.
The teen was re-united with his family, apparently unharmed, D’Evelyn said.