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Sun, Sept. 22

Sheriff's rescue helicopter pilot locates missing hikers

VERDE VALLEY - The Yavapai County Sheriff's helicopter, Rescue 1, located a group of missing hikers Monday morning, one of whom needed medical care, and the crew called in a DPS Ranger helicopter to fly him to waiting EMS personnel, a sheriff's spokesman said.

On Sunday night, YCSO was told that three hikers from Mesa had failed to return from a trip they had made to the Fossil Creek area, Dwight D'Evelyn, YCSO spokesman, said. The caller said one was diabetic and had just a one-day supply of insulin when they left about 10 a.m. on Saturday, and that the trio had left maps at home.

The group could not be reached by cell phone, D'Evelyn said, and deputies would later learn that none of the three men was carrying a phone.

Monday at 1 p.m., the Rescue 1 pilot located one of the hikers standing in the Verde River, waving his arms, D'Evelyn said. The pilot landed and found that another of the group, the diabetic man, needed medical help. A DPS Ranger helicopter responded and flew him to a landing zone where EMS crews were waiting.

The third man had walked away from the other two, intending to get to his vehicle, but never returned, D'Evelyn said.

The Ranger aircrew found him about three miles away just after 4 p.m.

D'Evelyn said hikers could learn from the mistakes the group made, including:

-Always carry a cell phone on hikes, or, if you believe you'll be out of cell range, invest in a personal locator device that uses satellite technology;

-Stay together. D'Evelyn noted that the two men who were together were found first, and the third became lost when he left in search of the vehicle;

-Plan your trip. Carry a map and survival supplies as well as appropriate clothing for the expected weather.

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