PHOENIX (KSAZ) - They had set out for a six mile hike near Sunflower in the Tonto National Forest, with a plan to hike six miles along Sycamore Creek.
Somehow, the group ended off the trail, and in some pretty rough terrain. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office coordinated the complicated rescue, which was done in darkness on Saturday night.
The hike for Cicero Prep Academy's hiking club ended in an exciting, unplanned and unexpected way, as 12 volunteers with the Central Arizona Mountain Rescue Association responded to the call for help from the hiking club, after the group, which consisted of several 6th to 10th graders, and led by eight adults, ran into trouble outside Sunflower.
"The hike was more difficult than they planned on," said Jesse Rutherford with Central Arizona Mountain Rescue Association (CAMRA). "It was also taking longer than expected."
Once they located the hikers, the CAMRA team helped each hiker to a waiting MCSO helicopter, where they were flown to a command post.
"They were cold. They were tired. They were thirsty. So we provided warm clothing, food and water," said Rutherford.
At the Cicero Prep Academy in Scottsdale Monday, the headmaster said he was grateful to the CAMRA team, apologetic to anxious parents, and acknowledged mistakes were made.
"The mistake that was made was we did an "A-to-B" hike, Point A to Point B," said Cicero Prep Academy's headmaster, Mark Discher. "All of our hikes we've done, about 30 of them successfully, have been out and back. This one, we tried to go point to point, and I don't think we'll do that again. So there are things were doing."
Central Arizona Mountain Rescue Association (CAMRA)