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Tue, Feb. 18

Lost hikers have overnight stay in Dugas area

Courtesy Photo<BR>
Yavapai County Sheriff’s helicopter Rescue I was instrumental in finding lost hikers on June 2.

Courtesy Photo<BR> Yavapai County Sheriff’s helicopter Rescue I was instrumental in finding lost hikers on June 2.

Two hikers lost in the Pine Mountain area near Dugas on June 1 spent a night in the wilderness before a Yavapai County Sheriff's Department Rescue I helicopter located them and ground crews guided them to a base camp.

Yavapai County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said emergency personnel were notified at about 10:45 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, that the two hikers, ages 23 and 24, from the Phoenix area, were possibly lost. The person reporting the lost hikers said he had seen them at about 3:45 p.m. that day and realized they had not returned to camp. He told dispatchers the two were wearing only t-shirts with short pants and carrying only a small supply of water.

Just before 1 a.m. on June 2, D'Evelyn said, the wife of one of the missing hikers called the Sheriff's Office and gave them a cell phone number to contact them. Deputies confirmed the hikers were lost with no food or warm clothing. They had a cell phone with a battery about to die. Because it was dark, the hikers were unable to find a known trail. The initial cell phone call allowed dispatchers to gather GPS coordinates for their current location and follow them through the night. Dispatchers determined that the two were more than two miles from where they parked their vehicle.

At daylight, rescuers could not reach the hikers by cell, and assumed the battery had died.

The Forest Patrol called out the Backcountry Unit from the Sheriff's Response Team for a ground search, and also deployed the Rescue 1 helicopter.

Just after 10 a.m., D'Evelyn said, the helicopter crew located the hikers and guided the backcountry team to them. Neither hiker required medical attention, he said.

D'Evelyn cautioned hikers to avoid starting a hike later in the day, and to remain stationary if the become lost, so rescuers can come to them. A cell phone is only as good as its battery, he said, so hikers should consider taking two phones or an extra charged battery. Hikers also should carry extra clothing, matchs, water, first aid supplies and a light source.

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