Helicopter Rescues Couple Trapped On Snow-Covered Ridge

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A Department of Public Safety helicopter on Wednesday rescued a stranded couple trapped on a snowy ridge in the Mazatzal Wilderness Area south of Payson.

The pair started their hike on the Barnhardt Trail just south of Rye and planned to loop around to their car on the 3.3-mile Rock Creek Trail. However, while descending the Rock Creek Trail, they lost their way and ended up on a snowy ridge where they could neither go up nor down, said Tonto Rim Search and Rescue (TRSAR) Commander Bill Pitterle.

The couple called for help on their cell phone around 1 p.m. Gila County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue coordinator Sgt. Terry Hudgens requested assistance from TRSAR and the DPS Ranger helicopter.

The helicopter pilot plucked the pair up from the ridge uninjured and delivered them back to their car.

Last fall, TRSAR responded to roughly the same area when a group of friends lost the trail and couldn’t find a way off a ridge, Pitterle said.

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