A Valley teen was rescued from a canyon near Young Saturday after reportedly getting trapped under a tree, rescuers report.

18-year-old Trent was camping over the Labor Day holiday weekend off the Young Road on Forest Road 109 with three friends. The group had gone out on a long hike, ultimately winding up at the bottom of a ravine Saturday afternoon, said Bill Pitterle, Tonto Rim Search and Rescue commander.

“This was his is first trip out into the woods with his friends,” said Alicia Keller, with TRSAR, who took photos of the rescue. “He told me that his mother wasn’t happy about him going with his friends, but he told his mom, “I’ll be fine.” Well ... he had quite the adventure for his first time out.”

Trent and his friends were reportedly hiking out of the canyon and walking along the side of a large fallen ponderosa pine tree that was lying in sand. Trent fell and got lodged under the tree “chest deep” in the sand, said Cole LaBonte with the Gila County Sheriff’s Office.

Trent’s friends tried to pull him out, but could not move him. While one of his friends stayed with him, the other two hiked out to get help.

“It took them several hours to hike out and when they got back to camp, there was no cell service,” LaBonte said.

Luckily, two Arizona Game and Fish Department officers were in the area and Trent’s friends flagged them down for help.

Game and Fish officers hiked down to Trent and radioed that he may have broken his leg. They requested TRSAR to help get Trent freed and a DPS Ranger helicopter to fly him out.

TRSAR sent 15 volunteers along with rope rescue gear. Pitterle estimates it would have taken them 40 minutes to hike in and then additional time to rig a system to pull Trent out.

At the same time, the Arizona Department of Public Safety sent a helicopter.

Game and Fish officers and Trent’s friends were able to dig Trent out while TRSAR was en route.

DPS then airlifted Trent out to safety before TRSAR sent crews in, he said.

Although bruised and dehydrated, Trent did not require additional medical care, LaBonte said.

“He just had a wild first time in the woods,” he said.

Water WheelAs crews worked to get Trent out, dispatchers notified rescuers that a man had dislocated his knee in the Water Wheel area.

The Water Wheel Fire and Medical District had reportedly sent firefighters in, but had requested resources to help move him out, Pitterle said.

Pitterle, working with poor cell service off the Young Road, was able to get six additional TRSAR volunteers to respond with the group’s second litter and wheel, which was located in storage in Strawberry.

As that group worked to get supplies together, DPS was also getting ready to send the helicopter from the Young Road mission over to help. However, firefighters reportedly carried the injured man out and both TRSAR and DPS were called off, he said.

Contact the editor at abechman@payson.com


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