Apache Junction Resident Injured At Tonto Natural Bridge


An Apache Junction man was injured when he slipped and fell while walking on rocks below the Tonto Natural Bridge late Monday afternoon.

Fredrick Patchen, 59, who suffered a dislocated shoulder and broken arm, was treated at the scene by Pine-Strawberry Fire Department paramedics and then taken to Payson Regional Medical Center for additional treatment. Patchen was hiking with a friend when he fell about 4:20 p.m. according to Sgt. Terry Hudgens of the Gila County Sheriff's Department, who was the first emergency worker on the scene.

When the friend hiked out and placed an emergency call, Tonto Rim Search and Rescue responded along with the sheriff's department.

"It was just about 7 p.m. well after dark when we evacuated him by litter," Hudgens said.

While snow had not yet begun to fall, freezing temperatures made the footing treacherous.

"It's always wet under there, and those rocks are so smooth from all the years of water running over them that they were just like ice," Hudgens said. "It was so dangerous that two of our rescue workers slipped and fell while we were down there."

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