Rescuers Searching For 33 Stranded Hunters, Four Near Payson

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The severe winter storm that pounded Coconino County earlier this week is being blamed for numerous calls for help from hunters that are trapped in heavy snow. So far, the sheriff’s office believes there are 11 groups (more than 33 people) waiting for rescue.

The sheriff’s office is receiving reports from a variety of sources including victims calling on their cell phones, family members reporting overdue hunters and hunters in the field reporting sightings of stranded parties.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office along with the Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue division, Arizona Game and Fish and the U.S. Forest Service Responses are prioritizing calls by the circumstances surrounding each incident to include: provisions available to the stranded individuals, their geographic location, the number of individuals in each party and the estimated threat level for each group.

Methods of rescue include; airlifts by DPS helicopter, ground extractions by rescuers on foot, snowmobiles, snow cats and in four-wheel drive vehicles.

Locations of stranded individuals include:

➢ Blue Ridge in the area of Forest Service Road 149 near the junction of Highway 260 and 87 with two people

➢ Woods Canyon Lake with two people

➢ Tusayan in the area of Forest Service Road 310 with an unknown number of people

➢ Tusayan in the area of Forest Service Road 320 with one person

➢ Tusayan in the area of Forest Service Road 310A with 10 people

➢ Perkinsville Road in the area of Forest Service Road 108 with two people

➢ Turkey Butte with three people

➢ Fry Park with two people

➢ Woody Mountain Road in the area of the junction of Forest Service Roads 538 and 527

➢ Rogers Lake in the area of Forest Service Road 527 with two people

➢ Munds Park in the area of Forest Service Road 700 north of Little Horse Park with an unknown number of people

➢ Norris Tank with numerous people in the area who can’t get out

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