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Sun, Oct. 20

Sheriff’s helicopter crew locates missing man

Courtesy YCSO

PRESCOTT – A 55-year-old man who failed to return home after an overnight camping trip near Camp Wood on Aug. 5 was located the next morning by the Yavapai County Sheriff’s helicopter, spokesman Dwight D’Evelyn said.

The man drove his pickup with a camper shell to the area on Aug. 4 for a one-night stay but didn’t come home.

Several of his friends drove to the area and found his truck, but not the man, and he didn’t answer his cell phone.

YCSO search teams from the Backcountry Unit and Jeep Posse began a search late at night on Aug. 5 but they did not find him, D’Evelyn said, although they located his phone in the camper.

The Sheriff’s Rescue-1 helicopter was dispatched the following morning. As the helicopter approached the area, the pilot saw a large, reflective emergency blanket on a hilltop, and near it, a man waving his arms.

He was airlifted back to the campsite in good condition and with no injuries.

The man told deputies that he hiked away from the camp the prior morning wearing only a t-shirt, shorts, and lightweight shoes, D’Evelyn said, and he carried an emergency pack.

“At some point, he realized he was lost. He had brought a GPS device as part of his gear for the trip, but only activated it after realizing he was lost and as result, did not have coordinates for his campsite,” D’Evelyn said. “He walked until dark and then attempted to start a fire, but the rain made it difficult. The camper bedded down for the night, drank rainwater and then used his emergency blanket to signal the helicopter at daybreak.”

D’Evelyn credited the man’s having left word of his plans with friends for his safe rescue.

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