Mesa Police Officer Rescued From Canyon With Broken Leg


A Mesa police officer who broke his leg while hiking south of Payson managed to splint his own leg and pull himself out of a canyon Saturday evening before rescuers arrived.

According to Tonto Rim and Search Rescue Commander Bill Pitterle, the officer and a friend hiked two miles in on the Sally Mae Trail before rappelling into Salome Canyon.

Salome Canyon is north of Roosevelt Lake and roughly 25 miles south of Payson.

Once in the canyon, the officer misstepped and fell, breaking his leg.

“He heard two pops” when he fell Pitterle said.

Instead of waiting for help, the officer splinted his leg and using an ascender, pulled himself out of the canyon. Once on the trail, the man called for help and waited for rescuers to hike into where he was waiting.

“He was a pretty tough guy,” Pitterle said.

Tonto Basin Fire Department arrived first and gave the man morphine for his pain. They then began hand carrying him out on a litter.

When TRSAR’s seven volunteers arrived with their litter, which has a wheel, rescuers were still far from the trailhead. The man was transferred to TRSAR’s litter and hauled to the trailhead where a helicopter airlifted him to a Valley hospital.


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