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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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4/12/2014 2:01:00 PM
Lost hikers in Sedona saved by cell phones

YAVAPAI COUNTY -- In three separate incidents, hikers in the Sedona area had to be rescued in recent days after getting lost on trails. All were carrying cell phones or they might have experienced all night desert exposure and risk of serious injury or death.

Around 9 p.m. April 4, Yavapai County Sheriff's deputies were told of a 58-year-old California man lost on Cathedral Rock. The man called his father in California, who told emergency personnel his son was lost without food, water, or any supplies and his cell phone battery was nearly dead. The father told his son to remain where he was and let rescue personnel come to him.

GPS coordinates were obtained from the son's phone, which located him near the top of Cathedral Rock. The Verde Search and Rescue (Verde SAR) team was called out. Just after midnight, Verde SAR found the man in good condition. The man was very glad to see rescue crews and within the hour was in his vehicle headed back to his Flagstaff hotel.

About 7 p.m. April 6, deputies were dispatched to Bell Rock for a lost 44-year-old woman hiker from Grand Canyon. She was out of water but wearing adequate clothing and had a light source. The woman was told to call 911 so dispatchers could access her GPS coordinates. With the information a deputy was able to guide her to the correct trail, and she arrived at the Court House Butte parking area just after 8 p.m. The deputy met her there, provided water and a ride to her vehicle.

Deputies were dispatched to Cathedral Rock again April 7 around 6:45 p.m. Lost were husband-and-wife hikers, ages 58 and 57. The couple from Colorado called in by cell phone. The woman had fallen into cactus during their attempt to hike out and they could not find the trail, ending up near a cliff's edge. They were told to stay put.

The Verde Search and Rescue team was called out as deputies plotted GPS coordinates obtained from the cell phone call. The team obtained a verbal response from the couple around 9 p.m. and, just before 9:30, the team found the couple and escorted them to base camp arriving before midnight. Fortunately, no medical attention was needed.

Deputies noted that the couple was in no way prepared for such a hike. They were out of water, took no food, and wore light clothing and tennis shoes. The woman was shaking uncontrollably when located, her skin was cold and she had a difficult time moving. One of the Verde SAR members provided extra clothing allowing her to warm during the hike back to safety.

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Related Links:
• Trail Safety Tips

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, April 12, 2014
Article comment by: Calm down wireless carriers

That does not mean we need or want more towers, so calm down Verizon and AT&T
Matter of fact those of you from the east coast here to bombard us with towers must be experiencing the best sleep you have had in years without all that radiation you live in back home.

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