Tonto Rim Search and Rescue was put to the test Sunday when it was called out on not one, but three rescues.

The Gila County Sheriff’s Office calls on the volunteer-based squad virtually anytime it has a call for a lost/injured or dehydrated hiker in Rim Country.

Commander Bill Pitterle said they initially headed out to Horton Creek early Sunday morning to look for two men who were reportedly stuck on a cliff north of Horton Springs.

After hiking up at least 4.5 miles to their location, they discovered the men had left, presumably finding a way down in the middle of the night.

Rescuers continued to look for the men throughout the day, just in case they had fallen or wandered further up canyon and were lost.

Pitterle said he got home around 4 p.m. only to have his phone ring again at 6:20 p.m.

This time, hikers in the Hellsgate Wilderness needed help getting out after their dog reportedly grew ill. The hikers had ditched their packs near the wilderness boundary and carried the dog as far as they could.

Pitterle sent a team in on quads to retrieve the hikers and their dog.

While monitoring that team in Hellsgate, Pitterle learned a woman was ill in Fossil Creek.

Sgt. Dennis Newman with the GCSO hiked in from the Pine Trailhead along with P-S firefighters. Newman initially thought they could hydrate the woman and help her walk out, but once he reached her and saw her condition, he called on TRSAR to help carry her out on a wheeled litter.

By this time, the Hellsgate team had returned. Pitterle sent a crew in to help Newman, including a volunteer who had been on the two earlier missions.

They hiked in around 8:30 p.m. Sunday. Newman ultimately had the woman airlifted by the Department of Public Safety because of her condition. TRSAR continued to hike in to help P-S and GCSO carry gear out.

For more information, visit TRSAR.org.

Contact the editor at abechman@payson.com

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