Seventy-Year-Old Hiker Plunges Into Devil's Chasm

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A Prescott man is listed in critical condition after tumbling 50 feet into Devil's Chasm while hiking near Young Wednesday afternoon.

According to rescuers, 70-year-old Nathan Burlingham suffered internal injuries and visible neck, chest and stomach injuries in the fall. He was admitted to St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix.

Andy Brunson, coordinator for the Gila County Sheriff's Department's search and rescue team, said Burlingham and four friends were hiking along the rugged terrain near Young when Burlingham fell.

"About 1:30 p.m., the man fell down a cliff about 10 to 15 feet, then hit an outslope of a lot of loose rock (and slid down 35 to 40 feet more)," Brunson said. "One of the ladies in the group hiked out, and at about 3 p.m. was able to call for help."

Within an hour, Brunson said, more than two dozen rescuers arrived at the isolated scene. "It's a really bad area ... right under Aztec Creek," Brunson said.

Rescuers from six county agencies, two Department of Public Safety helicopters and officers from the U.S. Forest Service worked to pull Burlingham out of the chasm.

"He was pretty scuffed up," the deputy said. "He suffered a lot of trauma."

By 7 p.m., Brunson said, emergency crews were air-lifting the injured hiker to St. Joseph's Hospital, where he remains in critical condition.

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