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Thu, Jan. 23

Firefighters, sheriff's office rescue injured teen from Thumb Butte

Prescott, Chino Valley and Central Yavapai firefighters rescued a teen who had fallen from the top of Thumb Butte in Prescott on Sunday.

At 9:30 a.m., Prescott firefighters answered a call for a 16-year-old boy who had hiked to the top of Thumb Butte and then fell 30 feet into a crevice, said Eric Kriwer, spokesman for the Prescott Fire Department.

The boy's father hiked with him up to the paved area, but the boy continued to the top of Thumb Butte on his own, Kriwer said.

The teen had abrasions all over, injured his back, and couldn't get down the mountain so Prescott Fire called in firefighters from other local departments trained in technical rescue and the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office Back Country Team, Kriwer said.

"We used rope systems to get him out of the crevice, put him in full C-spine protection, brought him down the mountain in a stokes basket, which is a rescue basket on a large wheel, and the crews carried him down to where we could treat him," Kriwer said.

Then LifeLine Ambulance took the teen to Yavapai Regional Medical Center's West campus to receive further treatment, Kriwer said.

"The crews worked as a cohesive team to do this rescue, which took three-and-a-half hours," Kriwer said. "It's a low frequency call, but a high-risk incident."

Kriwer said using the rope system for the rescue was personnel intensive and required a lot of people to do successfully.

"We had the Arizona Department of Public Safety Ranger helicopter en route, but they were cancelled prior to arrival," Kriwer said.

Kriwer urged people to use caution when out hiking.

"Anytime you go out, obviously be careful, especially in areas you're not used to," Kriwer said. "Tell people where you're going and the time you expect to get back. Always bring water with you and a cell phone."

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