Flagstaff, AZ – Coconino County Sheriff’s Deputies and Search and Rescue Unit responded to five snow related rescues over this past weekend.
On Friday January 20, 2017 deputies responded to a female in medical distress who was stranded in the snow when the all-terrain vehicle she and her companion were driving became stuck in the snow. The female and her male friend had gone for an ATV ride off Slayton Ranch Road north east of Flagstaff when they got their UTV stuck in deep snow on a hill. The couple had a disagreement and the male walked away to get help.
The female who was pregnant and had other medical conditions began to suffer from hypothermia and experience various degrees of consciousness. Deputies aided by citizens with ATV’s attempted to reach the female victim, but were unsuccessful due to the deep snow. A deputy was able to hike to the female and began to render aid until Search and Rescue personnel and a medic from Guardian Ambulance were able to get to the victim by way of a specialized tracked UTV. The female was transported to a waiting ground ambulance and transported to Flagstaff Medical Center where she was admitted for treatment of hypothermia.
On Saturday January 21, 2017 Coconino Sheriff’s Search and Rescue responded to a subject who had become stuck in chest deep snow while snowboarding in the back county on the south side of the San Francisco Peaks. Two ski patrol personnel from the Arizona Snowbowl responded from the top of the mountain with snowshoes, while nine Search and Rescue volunteers responded from the Kachina Trail. Ski patrol made contact with the victim and were able to assist him down the mountain to the Freidlein Prairie Road to Search and Rescue’s waiting snow cat. The subject was transported back to the Snowbowl and re-united with his party.
On Sunday January 22, 2017 Coconino County Deputies and Search and Rescue began a search for two overdue snowmobilers in the Jacob Lake area. Two subjects had checked into Jacob Lake Lodge and left the area for a snowmobile trip to an unknown destination. When the subjects had not returned by late that evening, the Sheriff’s Office was contacted. Deputies contacted a flight crew from Classic Air Medical out of Page who were in Flagstaff at the time. The flight crew agreed to fly the Jacob Lake area on their trip back to their base.
The flight crew located two snowmobiles headed toward Jacob Lake on the Ryan Road. The subjects made it back to Jacob Lake prior to sunrise. They reported they snowmobiled to the north rim of the Grand Canyon, but on the return trip they encountered deep snow. Their snowmobiles became stuck in the deep snow requiring them to dig out the machines and delaying their return. Neither of them required medical attention.
On Monday January 23, 2017 the Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a snowboarder who was in the back country and had suffered a possible broken leg. The subject left the ski area of the Arizona Snowbowl and entered the back country on the south side of the San Francisco Peaks. The subject jumped an unknown object and fractured his leg. Four ski patrollers from Arizona Snowbowl and 13 Coconino Sheriff’s Search and Rescue volunteers responded to the area.
The ski patrol descended from the top of the mountain with a toboggan while Search and Rescue responded from Freidlein Prairie Road in a snow cat. Ski patrol located the victim, provided initial treatment and prepared the subject for transport. Search and Rescue personnel hiked uphill from Freidlein Prairie to break trail for the ski patrol’s descent. The patient was safely transported by toboggan to the Search and Rescue snow cat and transported to a waiting ambulance.
Monday January 23, 2017 evening, the Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue responded to assist the Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZ DPS) with a tour bus that had become stuck in mud just off the highway. Around 4:00 PM the AZ DPS received a call of a tour bus stuck just off Hwy 180 on Forest Road 417. Troopers responded to the area and found the bus driver had followed his GPS directing an alternate route to Page, AZ. The bus became stuck in the mud about four miles off the highway. The bus was fully loaded with 45 tourists from South Korea. Highway 180 was closed at the time due to drifting snow in Kendrick Park.
The rescue of the tourists was further affected by one of the series of snow storms that hit the area around 5:00 PM. The storm resulted in a quick accumulation of six to eight inches of snow in the area. DPS began shuttling the tourists to a staging area near the highway using several of their four wheel drive patrol vehicles. A citizen also assisted in shuttling the bus passengers. Coconino Sheriff’s Search and Rescue arranged for a bus and three employees from the Williams Unified School District to transport the tourists to a local motel.