FOREST LAKES -- About 11:30 a.m. Saturday, a Coconino County Sheriff's Deputy in the Forest Lakes area and the local fire district were dispatched to a forest road on the report that a 13-year-old boy fell from a cliff area. The child and his father, from Phoenix, were on a bear hunt in an area about 1,000 feet below the top of Chevelon Canyon in rugged and steep terrain. First responders discovered they were not equipped to access the location where the child fell and requested air support.
The Deputy requested the DPS Ranger helicopter, the Gila Sheriff's Office, Tonto Rim Technical Rope Rescue Team, and the Coconino Sheriff's Search and Rescue Technical Team. Because of weather of rain and thunderstorms, DPS helicopters from Flagstaff and Phoenix also responded.
With the child's serious injuries, it was felt that at least one helicopter would be able to reach the child's location in a safe and timely manner despite the inclement weather.
The first rescue helicopter landed in the bottom of the canyon and a crewmember began to hike up to the victim's location. The DPS Medic administered advanced life support for boy's injuries and the child was removed from the canyon by the short haul, secured in medical basket and suspended beneath the helicopter and then flown to where he could be lowered to the ground.
Because of the stormy weather, a commercial medical air transport was not possible. Once the helicopter landed it was reconfigured for a long-distance medical flight and flew the boy to the Payson Airport where it was re-fueled. The child was then flown to a Phoenix area trauma center. The second DPS helicopter short-hauled the child's father to a location where he too could be lowered to the ground and eventually flew him to a DPS Air Rescue Hanger where he was transported by ground to the medical center where his child was taken. The child received emergency medical care for serious head, facial and leg injuries.