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Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue Saves Lost Family And Horses in The Remote Chiricahua Mountains Near Wilcox

Family members dehydrated

Thursday, June 13, 2013 -

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On June 12, 2013, Arizona DPS Air Rescue assisted the Cochise County Sheriff’s Department with search and rescue in the Chiricahua Mountains southeast of Wilcox. A family of three including a mom and dad and an eight year old child went for an afternoon horseback ride. Even though they had a map, the family lost the trail. The family remained in their location overnight and contacted the Sheriff’s office early Wednesday morning. DPS Air Rescue responded to the search area and was able to locate the family high up in the mountains in very rugged terrain. The DPS helicopter lowered much needed water for the family and horses. A Cochise County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue member was inserted from the helicopter via one skid about a half mile above to assess the victims. The child and mother were severely dehydrated. It was determined they would not be able to walk or ride out of the extremely rugged mountains. Based on the terrain and their condition, a helicopter technical short haul rescue was performed to lift them out of the canyon. They were transported to an awaiting ambulance.

A second DPS helicopter was dispatched to assist with transporting more rescuers to the scene and to provide additional water for the male victim and horses. Eventually with the assistance of the Cochise County Sheriff’s office, all were lead out of the canyon.


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The Arizona Department of Public Safety is a state-level law enforcement agency whose mission is to protect human life and property by enforcing state laws, deterring criminal activity and providing vital support to the State of Arizona and its citizens.