Heat Spurs Wave Of Rescues

Close call for groups of brave special needs kids

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This weekend’s sweltering temperatures kept rescuers busy with three rescues happening simultaneously Sunday.

From a large group of dehydrated, disabled hikers to a woman who nearly lost her life from heat stroke and a boy who

smacked his head while swimming in Fossil Creek, all three groups set out to enjoy the warm summer weather, but found out the heat is nothing to take lightly.

About 4:10 p.m., rescuers received calls that a group of 23 hikers, some disabled, were out of food and water on the 260 Trail. Around the same time, a call came in that a 13-year-old boy had smacked his head while swimming at the bottom of the Fossil Springs Trail and could not walk out on his own.

Reportedly, three disabled persons in the large group on the 260 Trail were tired and thirsty and one man sat down and refusedrefused to move, said Gila County Sgt. Terry Hudgens.

Deputy John France and six volunteers from Tonto Rim Search and Rescue (TRSAR) arrived at the trailhead, prepared to bring the group water and assistance when they walked out on their own, uninjured.

Meanwhile, on the Fossil Springs Trail, Pine-Strawberry Fire Department paramedics headed down the 3.5-mile trail after getting reports that a boy had hit his head.

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Pete Aleshire/Roundup

Tempting lure: Some hikers trying to reach the paradise of Fossil Creek on a steep, tough trail had to be rescued this weekend from the effects of the heat.

Roughly two miles down the trail, paramedics encountered a woman in her 30s suffering from severe heat stroke, said TRSAR Commander Bill Pitterle.

“She was seriously in trouble,” Pitterle said. “She was going in and out of consciousness and not sweating. You can very quickly die from that (heat stroke).”

Paramedics started an IV on the woman, while several paramedics took off down the trail for the boy.

P-S Fire requested TRSAR bring a litter and wheel to haul the woman out while the P-S Fire Department’s litter was brought to the boy.

Six to eight TRSAR volunteers helped wheel the woman out to the trailhead while another six went down to the creek to help the boy.

When Pitterle and the other rescuers arrived at the bottom, the boy “wasn’t too talkative,” he said.

From talking with the boy’s parents, rescuers learned the boy had been playing in the water when he somehow hit his head. The boy’s father went into the water to pull the boy out, but both were swept downstream. The father managed to pull himself and his son out of the creek after getting banged up quite a bit, Pitterle said. The father and son then hiked back up the creek to where the trail meets the creek. There the boy said he could not walk the rest of the way out of the canyon, so volunteers wheeled him up the steep trail.

By 11 p.m., all calls were cleared and rescuers were back home.

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