Hiking rescues on the rise; fire departments prep for busy season

- As the weather heats up, more hikers are hitting the trails and that means more rescue calls for valley firefighters. Teams responded to at least four mountain rescue calls on Monday in the White Tanks, South Mountain, Camelback's Cholla Trail and in Papago Park where a woman accidentally hiked off the trail.

Video from SkyFOX showed her clinging to rocks as firefighters moved in and pulled her to safety. This 62-year-old valley woman spent a good part of  the morning clinging to the side of a crevice in the  Papago Buttes in Tempe.

"This is somebody that lives in the area, familiar.. she felt she was off a bit and just kept going to find the next trail," said Phoenix Fire Department Captain Rob McDade.

Instead, she found herself stuck in a precarious position. Phoenix Fire's Technical Rescue Team trains here at Papago and has even trained at this exact spot. 

"Our folks getting to her safely, securing her to themselves to make sure she didn't go any further down.. we used some ropes.. this is something we train with all the time. We needed to get her to a flat area where we knew she would be safe," explained McDade.

Earlier in the morning, Phoenix's technical rescue teams were called to another familiar rescue site, Camelback Mountain.  A 43-year-old hiker injured his knee as he reached the summit. He couldn't be walked down, but was instead flown off the mountain. He is expected to be okay.

The Phoenix Fire Department says  they are preparing for a busy season on the mountain as temperatures and more people head out to enjoy, but end up being rescued.

"It's easy for something like this to happen. I can see how it happens, especially at 62, she probably doesn't do this often," said Damon Richardson, a hiker.

Another hiker, Janice Cresse, added, "Be aware of your surroundings and don't hike alone, especially for women. And know your limitations."

 

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