FOSSIL CREEK -- Sunday, just before 10 p.m., Yavapai Sheriff's deputies were notified about 3 missing hikers who had been scheduled to return that morning. The caller said 49-year-old Michael Bradley, 29-year-old Justin Bradley, and 33-year-old William Bruckner Jr., planned a 9-mile hike in the Fossil Creek area, which began Saturday. All three are from Mesa.
The caller said Justin required insulin due to a diabetic condition and only had a one-day supply and that the trio left their maps at home.
Attempts could not reach the hikers by cell phone, or track cell phone locations during the night. They continued at daybreak Monday. YCSO's Rescue 1 helicopter began flyovers. The Rescue 1 pilot spotted a male subject standing in the Verde River waving his arms about 1 p.m. The pilot was able to land on the opposite side of the river from where the subjects were found and determine that one of them was in medical distress.
DPS Ranger was called made contact with Michael and Justin along the river. Michael told the DPS officer that William left the prior night intending to return to the Child's Campground to his car. They had not seen William him since. Justin needed medical attention, was flown to a landing zone and treated by EMS personnel.
DPS Ranger and ground crews searched and located William three hours later. He had lost his way and was spotted about 3 miles south of where his hiking partners were previously located and was airlifted to safety.