Injured canyoning rider rescued from Fossil Creek area | Local

A rescue team is working in the Fossil Creek area on Saturday.

Courtesy of the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office


An inter-agency search and rescue operation successfully recovered an injured canyoning driver at the Horsetank Wash in the Fossil Creek Wilderness area at the weekend.

Authorities said a 56-year-old Phoenix man fell more than 18 meters while abseiling a cliff. The man suffered several injuries, including a complicated broken arm.

The nature of the injury, coupled with the location of the incident, resulted in an operation that involved a search and rescue helicopter and several search and rescue teams from the surrounding areas.

An Arizona Department of Public Safety air rescue helicopter responded from Flagstaff with a search and rescue air rescue specialist from the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office on board, authorities said.

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During the rescue, a search and rescue coordinator from the nearby Gila County Sheriff’s Office also responded to assist with the rescue, as well as members of the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities said the site was “incredibly difficult”. A CCSO mountain rescue team reported from Flagstaff to help with a possible technical rope rescue if an air rescue was not possible.

It was eventually determined that a short-haul mission was in the best interests of the rescuers and the injured. The rescue specialist from the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office descended from the helicopter to the location of the injured canyoning driver and took the injured person to a nearby landing zone near State Route 260.

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