Box Canyon Fall Breaks Bones, Requires Rescue

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A church hiking trip in Box Canyon near Kohl's Ranch was interrupted by a six-hour rescue operation Saturday when a 13-year-old Phoenix girl fell off a 20-foot cliff.

Jessica Hodgeson hiked across the bottom of Box Canyon Saturday morning with her church group to go swimming in Christopher Creek, Sgt. Terry Hudgens of the Gila County Sheriff's Office said.

When the group reached the creek at about 9:30, Hodgeson tried to edge her way down a steep cliff to the water, but lost her footing and fell 20 feet to the water's edge, he said.

"She landed on her left hand and her bottom," Hudgens said. "She broke her arm above the wrist and was complaining of back pain.

"I went down and splinted her arm and set up a shade for her because she was in the sun. We waited until Tonto Rescue got there, and they strung about 500 feet of rope. We put her on a backboard (to protect against back injury) and lifted her out."

The Tonto Search and Rescue Team pulled the girl out of the stream area at about 3:30 p.m., he said.

Hodgeson was taken to Payson Regional Medical Center where her arm was splinted. She was then transferred to a Valley hospital for further care.

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