On January 14, 2016, at approximately 6PM, a Dewey woman called for help after she and three family members became stuck in deep snow south east of Walker in the Prescott National Forest. They had been camping and hunting in the area prior to the last storm and were now out of food. Their truck became stuck while attempting to leave and access to a detached camping trailer in the area was not possible.
When YCSO received the call, the Yavapai County Search and Rescue Team’s (YCSRT) 4x4 Unit was contacted and several members responded. After nearly 5 hours, many in darkness, the search team could only get within a couple of miles of the family due to heavy snow that was several feet deep in some sections. As a result, they spent the night in their vehicle while search team members remained on stand-by. Fortunately, the family had warm clothing and was able to keep a cell phone charged using vehicle power.
The following morning, January 15th, YCSO's Rescue 1 helicopter was launched and quickly located the stranded family. Food and water were provided and after a landing zone was found, all family members were flown out to a designated area near Lynx Lake. No one was injured other than being tired, hungry, and cold due to the overnight temperatures in the 20s.
YCSO would again like to thank our dedicated volunteers who arrived on a moment’s notice to begin the search for this family. Their efforts continued well into the night under extremely cold conditions. Additionally, the stranded family members were smart to remain stationary with their vehicle through the night instead of ‘wilderness wandering’ in hopes of finding a way out. This action reduced risk not only to themselves, but rescue team members also.
YCSO’s Rescue 1 continues to provide critical lifesaving service while operating without the use of taxpayer dollars.