Fallen hiker rescued in West Fork

SEDONA -- Early Saturday morning, the Coconino County Sheriff's Office received a report of a man who had fallen down a cliff and sustained serious injuries in the West Fork of Oak Creek, west of Buzzard Point.

Sheriff deputies, the Sheriff's Search and Rescue-Mountain Team, Guardian Air and Medical Transport, and Arizona DPS Air Rescue were dispatched to the call.

The man had hiked about 200 feet below the rim of the canyon, climbed a tree, but then fell from the tree approximately 30 feet to the ground. He then rolled and fell another 80 to 100 feet down steep rocky terrain stopping near a cliff edge.  

Guardian Medical Transport and a deputy sheriff reached and provided care to the critically injured patient while Search and Rescue set up a technical rescue system. DPS Air Rescue, with a Search and Rescue member on board as a rescue technician, prepared for a short haul rescue.

The Heli-Rescue technician rappelled from the helicopter to the scene and packaged the patient for short haul rescue.  A short haul includes flying the patient and rescue technician suspended from the end of a 150-foot rope below the helicopter from the accident scene to a safe landing zone.  The patient and technician were flown to Fry Park, where the patient was transferred to Guardian Air Transport to be flown to Flagstaff Medical Center.

Once the patient was extracted, Search and Rescue personnel helped the bystanders and other rescuers up the steep slope to the rim with the aid of a rope and personal protective equipment.

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