On October 17, 2011, at approximately 9:30 PM, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office dispatchers received a cell phone call from 2 brothers who were stranded in an unknown area off Old Senator Highway. The brothers, ages 68 and 70 and both from Phoenix, had driven from Prescott and last recalled seeing a sign on Senator Highway indicating a route to Poland Junction. A wrong turn on an access road caused some confusion with direction and their truck eventually became stuck in a ravine. Both were prepared to stay overnight as they had water and blankets, but requested help from YCSO at daybreak. Dispatchers began tracking their cell phone GPS coordinates in preparation for a search operation.
At 6 AM on October 18, 2011, YCSO Forest Patrol personnel began the search effort and called out the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Response Team (YCSRT) Quad Unit. Additionally, the Sheriff’s Air Group deployed a plane to fly over the identified search area just before 9AM. Dispatchers continued supplying GPS coordinates based on 911 contacts with the missing brothers.
Just after the 10 AM hour, Prescott’s Guidance Helicopter agreed to launch a helicopter over the search area. At 10:53 AM, the Guidance crew located the lost brothers and began guiding Quad Unit search crews, already in the vicinity, to the brothers. Additionally, the Guidance Crew dropped a safety kit containing food, water, band aids, etc., to the pair. This kit was developed in cooperation with YCSO Forest Patrol personnel to aid those stranded awaiting rescue. Just after 11 A.M., Quad Unit personnel arrived and rescued the brothers. They did not require medical attention and were taken to a staging area at Poland Junction / Highway 69. The brothers were then driven to Black Canyon City and reunited with family. The truck was removed the following day.
Sheriff Mascher and the rescue volunteers would like to extend their appreciation to Guidance Helicopters for volunteering a helicopter and crew to this operation. As indicated in past media releases, Guidance is in the process of refurbishing a Robinson Helicopter donated to YCSO, and service activation is expected by the end of the year. The ability to launch helicopter support under local and immediate control is expected to prove very effective as evidenced by the successful conclusion in this incident.