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16 hikers rescued by DPS after flash flooding leaves them stranded

16 hikers rescued in southeastern Arizona

Rescuers airlifted 16 hikers from a remote canyon area in southeastern Arizona after they became stranded due to flash flooding.

Two DPS helicopters, Ranger 54 and 58, were requested by the Pinal County Sheriff's Office (PCSO) to help aid with hiker rescues within the Aravaipa Canyon on the morning of September 2.

The first helicopter found two campers on a plateau when the crew saw additional hikers needed extraction. An additional Ranger crew was dispatched to help respond.

Six people were flown out by a short-haul method, which utilizes a 150-foot cable to carry people externally below the helicopter.

Ten more hikers were removed from the canyon either by the helicopters landing to load passengers or by a hover ingress; a technique in which helicopters hover while passengers load onto the aircraft.

The 16 hikers were turned out to the PCSO and Kearny Fire Department. 

Arizona DPS said the helicopters re-fueled on-site by the AZDPS' fuel truck, reducing the number of hours required to complete the rescue mission. The aircrafts flew for nearly eight hours with close to 13 hours of mission time.

“This rescue is another example of the exceptional work of our Arizona State Troopers and the cooperation of Arizona law enforcement and first responders who rescue people that are stranded, lost or injured beyond the reach of normal emergency services,” said Lt. Colonel Ken Hunter of the Agency Support Division.

“This was an amazing show of teamwork. The monsoon rains caught these hikers by surprise and we are glad they called for help. Our deputy was hoisted down into the canyon by DPS and helped get those stranded hikers to safety,” said Sheriff Mark Lamb, Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.


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