Paramedics Save Grateful Hiker

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Sandy Litkenhaus thought she would enjoy a lovely hike this past weekend on the trails at the end of Phoenix Street, until she hit a patch of loose gravel.

“My boots did not have enough traction,” she said.

She fell — hard — and broke her ankle.

“I heard something pop,” she said.

Enter her knights in shining armor, or at least blue uniforms — the Payson Fire Department paramedics.

Litkenhaus said Captain Gary Vohz, engineer Morgan Wood and firefighter Travis Kilbourne were the first responders to the scene.

“My friend called Tonto (Rim) Search and Rescue (TRSAR) and the EMTs came first,” she said.

Litkenhaus said the Payson firefighters bantered with her and kept her relaxed all while they worked.

“Let me tell you, they were extraordinary,” she said.

The Payson paramedics had her strapped to a bright yellow board and prepared to hike her out, when TRSAR showed up with a “Big Wheel with a basket.”

She said that Big Wheel thing came just in time because she was pretty far into the trails.

Payson Police Chief Don Engler said originally the firefighters thought she was a quarter of a mile into the trails, but discovered she was actually a mile and a quarter off the trailhead.

Litkenhaus said she had to spread the news that Payson is blessed to have such helpful, cheerful firefighters. “They were great,” Litkenhaus said.

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