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Friday, February 23, 2024

Injured hiker rescued in Grand Canyon was left behind by friends, rescuers say

An injured 63-year-old hiker was rescued from the Grand Canyon last week after being left alone by a group of friends, officials said.

Search and rescue crews responded to a call for help — sent out by an Apple device using itsemergency satellite feature — at around 6 p.m. on Friday, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue said in a Facebook post. A rescue specialist and a medic flew in a Department of Public Safety air rescue helicopter from Kingman, Arizona, to the location given by the satellite, which was along a portion of Kanab Creek in the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Landing the helicopter there was difficult, according to the sheriff’s office, because it “was very dark” and surrounded by tall canyon walls, “providing a tight and limited landing area.”

The crew was able to land about 1/4 mile from the satellite location and proceeded to traverse boulders and the creek itself to reach the injured hiker, who had fallen and suffered a traumatic shoulder injury that required “emergency medical attention and evacuation,” the sheriff’s office said. They stabilized the hiker and transported him in the helicopter to a hospital in Flagstaff for medical evaluation.

The injured hiker’s name was not released publicly. He told search and rescue officials that he was traveling through the Grand Canyon with a group of four other friends, who had already been backpacking for three or four days when the man fell and hurt his shoulder at around 2 p.m. on Friday afternoon. They had another three or four days of hiking planned before the end of their trip.

After confirming that the Apple device had sent out the emergency call, the hiker’s friends took the device and left him in the spot given by the satellite, according to the Mohave County sheriff. It was unclear exactly what time the original call for help was made.

“It was fortunate that the helicopter was able to rescue this injured hiker, as it would have taken an extended period of time for ground crews to reach his location,” the sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook. “Search and Rescue encourages everyone to never leave someone behind alone and whenever possible, to stay with them and ensure they are rescued before continuing on their journey.”

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