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Rescue 1 Air Support Again a Critical Factor in Search Effort

04 September 2013  
A 56-year-old man went missing while searching for his dogs.  Just before 8 AM yesterday, Tuesday, September 3, 2013, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office deputies were notified of a missing 56-year-old Phoenix man in the Fossil Creek area. Deputies learned the missing man began hiking in the area on Sunday hoping to find his two hunting dogs lost the prior week. Both dogs were wearing GPS tracking collars. On Tuesday morning, a friend of the missing man discovered a text message on his phone indicating his missing friend was in distress. The YCSO Forest Patrol rescue crew was assembled as dispatchers attempted to locate the missing man via cell phone GPS information. Friends provided the man's description and vehicle information. After reviewing newly discovered text messages sent the prior day, the search focus was changed to the Strawberry, Arizona area in Gila County. Deputies began assembling a ground search effort as YCSO's helicopter, Rescue 1, was launched. Just after 9:30 AM, the Rescue 1 crew located the missing man's truck and directed a Gila County search team to that location. The truck was unoccupied and had an empty ATV trailer attached. A short time later, the Rescue 1 crew found the man's abandoned ATV some distance from the truck and began a grid search from that location. At approximately 10:45 AM, Rescue 1 saw the missing man as he waved from an open field to get their attention. Because of the urgent need to check the man's condition, Rescue 1 landed nearby and the observer/EMT made direct contact. The man was tired and dehydrated, but did not require immediate medical aid and was flown back to his ATV. The man told deputies that he had fallen from a ledge on Monday night and tried to get help via cell phone, but was unable to call out. He waited until daybreak to attempt a return to his ATV and also sent a distress text message from his cell phone to friends as calls did not go through. He was very grateful for the efforts of all involved in the search. He planned to return on another day with help to locate the dogs. Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov