Man Rescued From Canyon After 36 Hours

Payson man alive after falling 140 feet in Sedona


In one of the most dramatic rescues of the year, a Payson man was found alive after falling 140 feet in a popular Sedona canyon.

It took rescuers more than 36 hours, 2,400 feet of rappelling rope and several helicopter attempts to get Mike McEntire to safety after he fell in a Sedona canyon.

McEntire, 36, was canyoneering with friends Saturday afternoon in West Fork when he lost control of a rappelling rope and fell 100 feet onto a rock.

McEntire fell another 40 feet before ending up roughly 1,800 feet below the canyon rim. McEntire had serious head and internal injuries from the fall, likely including a fractured pelvis, said Rex Gilliland, with the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office.

Due to his remote location, rescuers used 2,400 feet of rope to rappel down eight sections. This on top of three swims required to reach him, Gilliland said.

By midnight, two members of the Coconino County Search and Rescue Technical Rescue Team reached McEntire, where they stayed with him throughout the night.

But the rescue was far from over.

On Sunday morning, a Department of Public Safety helicopter was unable to reach McEntire due to his location.

Using ropes, rescuers mechanically raised McEntire 500 feet up the canyon wall. McEntire was then airlifted a short distance and transferred to a Native Air helicopter that flew him to a Valley hospital.  

Helicopters were then used to haul rescuers out of the canyon. 

More than 25 rescue and medical personnel responded, including those from Coconino County Search and Rescue, Sedona Fire District, Flagstaff Fire Department, Guardian Medical Transport, Flagstaff Medical Center, Native Air and Department of Public Safety helicopters out of Kingman and Phoenix.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.