On November 20, 2011, at approximately 8:20 AM, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a lost/stranded man involved in a horse packing trip. He had been heading from the Table Mesa area north of Lake Pleasant, to Horsethief Basin in Yavapai County. The initial request for help came in via a “Spot” brand satellite messaging device which signaled a request for emergency assistance. The device also sent identification for its owner, a 47-year Glendale resident, along with GPS coordinates and emergency contact information. Note: These devices, based on satellite technology, will work where cell phone signals are ineffective to provide emergency locater information.
Dispatch personnel were able to contact the man’s wife and learn he was walking alone when one of his two horses became disabled. He had already been out overnight and his water supply was depleted. The satellite device continued to provide updated GPS information as a search was being coordinated. At 9:30AM, deputies were able to talk briefly with the man via cell phone before the call was lost due to poor signal.
At 11AM, a crew from Prescott’s Guidance Helicopter offered to provide aerial support for the operation. Using GPS coordinates the helicopter crew located the man around 11:45AM. Flying overhead, the crew was able to provide critical search directions for ground personnel. Before 2PM, a YCSO Forest Patrol deputy made contact with the man and supplied food and water. He was found in good condition and indicated he would stay overnight to rest his horses for the morning. It was expected to take at least a full day to walk out.
On November 21, 2011, around 7 AM, YCSO dispatchers were notified the man had injured his leg after falling while riding one of the horses. He requested assistance due to the injury and used his “Spot” tracker to relay new GPS coordinates. DPS launched a Ranger Helicopter to rescue him, along with ground crews from the Yavapai Sheriff’s Office Response Team, including the Backcountry and Quad Units. By 10AM, Ranger had the subject on board for transport to John C. Lincoln, Deer Valley. His injuries were not considered life threatening. Family members, with assistance of the Quad Unit, were able to locate the horses and begin arrangements to bring them home.
(Regarding the “Spot” - YCSO does not endorse any particular product, but provides this information so those interested can research the brand and other personal satellite tracking devices also available for sale).