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Thu, Feb. 20

Sheriff's quad unit rescues stranded men

Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office/Courtesy<br/>A search vehicle was covered in mud following the rescue of two men.<br/>

Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office/Courtesy<br/>A search vehicle was covered in mud following the rescue of two men.<br/>

Yavapai County Sheriff's deputies Monday morning rescued two men who got lost and stranded in the Wet Beaver Wilderness near Forest Road 618 two days earlier.

Carl Schwimmer, 61, of Flagstaff called the Sheriff's Office for help just before 7 a.m. Sunday after he and a friend Thomas Pearsall, 56, of Cottonwood, had gotten lost the day before while driving a side-by-side quad which ran out of gas east of I-17 near the 179 turnoff, said Dwight D'Evelyn, spokesman for the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office.

The men, who had already spent one night out in the wilderness, had water but no food, D'Evelyn said.

YCSO Forest Patrol coordinated a search effort involving the YCSO Jeep Posse, Verde Search and Rescue Team, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office Response Team 4 by 4 Unit, and members of the Southern Yavapai County Sheriff's Office Response Team. Coconino Search and Rescue also sent out an SUV that travels over snow.

YCSO Communications personnel tracked the missing men with help from the cell phone company, but the carrier could only provide general coordinates based on the closest cell phone tower, D'Evelyn said.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety Ranger Helicopter flew by the area briefly, but did not spot the missing men. However, the men told rescuers they could hear the helicopter flying overhead.

The men called rescuers to let them know they'd found an old shed to stay in, and they'd lit a fire to keep warm during the snowy and rainy weather, D'Evelyn said.

Search efforts continued throughout the night as weather permitted, D'Evelyn said. They used their cell phone sparingly to save battery power.

The Yavapai County Search and Rescue Quad Unit found the shed and rescued Schwimmer and Pearsall at 10 a.m. Monday, D'Evelyn said.

Neither man needed medical attention, but it took rescuers several hours to safely bring them out.

Sheriff's Office rescuers suggest considering current and extended weather forecasts before heading out into the wilderness.

Rescuers also suggest bringing along a cell phone, an extra phone battery, a light source, food, water and severe weather clothing in the event a day trip turns into an unplanned overnight stay.

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