Apr 3, 2013 7:37 PM by Leasa Conze
PINAL COUNTY - Search and rescue crews have been busy over the past two weeks, conducting 15 separate missions in the past two weeks alone.
With warmer temperatures and wildflowers blooming in the desert, the Superstition wilderness is calling many a hiker but some are venturing out and then getting into trouble.
"The Pinal County Sheriff's Search and Rescue team already has had a record year for the number of calls for service related to lost hikers. Individuals are encouraged to enjoy the great outdoors and the beautiful hiking trails of the Superstition Mountains but they need to be prepared and monitor the weather before starting their adventure," says Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.
The most recent rescue occurred Easter Sunday, March 31, when a woman broke her ankle and had to be rescued from the Lost Dutchman State Park.
The day before, on March 30, SAR deputies and posse members were dispatched to the Lost Dutchman State Park to help three hiking adults, who were almost out of water and unable to make their way out of the park. SAR deputies found the hikers and escorted them down the trail.
On Friday, March 29, a teenager went for a walk in the desert near Mammoth and got lost. He stayed on the phone with dispatchers as SAR deputies responded. With the dispatcher's help, the teen managed to find his way to a road and deputies drove him home.
Also on March 29, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office got a calll about a missing member of an off-road party. The group was four-wheeling in the Mammoth area. On a climb, the driver in the back of the pack disappeared. SAR deputies responded and found the Jeep. It had apparently rolled off a cliff. They found the driver dead inside the Jeep.
On March 27, a SAR team was sent to an area in the Superstition Mountains after a woman called to say her 24-year-old husband was overdue from his hike. The posse found him and returned him to his car.
On March 25, a 65-year-old woman lost consciousness on Picacho Peak. She was suffering from heat exposure and dehydration. SAR deputies hiked up and assisted her off the mountain.
On March 24, there were two rescues. In the first, the SAR team helped two women who had gone hiking off trail above the waterfalll near the Hierglyphics Trail. The two had not prepared for an overnight stay and both needed assistance finding their way out of the park.
Just hours later, a woman riding her quad near Box Canyon suffered multiple injuries and had to be extricated from the area so she could be taken by air ambulance to the hospital.
On March 23, the SAR team took part in three missions. In the first, they were called out to help a woman who broke her ankle and needed assistance to get down from Picacho Peak.
In the second, the team was called out to the Arizona Trail near Oracle, when a 60-year-old woman hiking with a large group was overcome by the hike and needed help off the mountain. As that was taking place, four other members of that same group were reported missing. Two of them managed to make it out of the area on their own, but the SAR deputies had to find the other two and help them off the mountain, as well.
The third rescue that day also took place on Picacho Peak. A woman and her 4-year-old daughter called for help after they became stranded on a cliff as the sun was going down. With help from the Department of Public Safety's Ranger helicopter, SAR deputies found the pair and they were able to hike up the mountain and safely guide the child and her mother to safety.
On March 17, a hiker fell and hit his head at the waterfall near Hieroglyphics Trail in the Superstition Mountains. SAR deputies responded with a stokes basket and carried the man out of the canyon for medical attention.
On March 16, SAR deputies responded to the Picket Post Mountain near Superior. Two hikers had lost their group and were overdue. The hikers were located, uninjured.
On March 15, the Pinal County Sheriff's Office SAR team was called out to Haunted Canyon for two lost hikers. They hadn't packed any provisions for overnight. The Department of Public Safety's Ranger helicopter found the hikers, but it was too dark and the terrain was too steep to attempt a night rescue. A SAR deputy and two SAR posse members hiked nearly seven hours to the lost hikers' location in extremely steep, canyon terrain. They stayed with the lost hikers through the night and waited until the Ranger helicopter returned the next morning and extracted the hikers.