Woman injures ankle
crossing Fossil Creek
By Alexis Bechman
July 27, 2010
Reports that a woman had been swept downstream and was hanging
precariously from a tree above Fossil Creek Saturday turned
out to be exaggerated.
While a woman in her 20s had fallen into the creek while
hiking with friends, she had only injured her ankle and was
not in danger of drowning.
Bill Pitterle, Tonto Rim Search and Rescue commander, said he
initially got a call about 2 p.m. that a woman from the Valley
was clinging to a tree after being swept a third of mile
downstream from a waterfall, south of the Fossil Springs
However, when the Pine-Strawberry Fire Department and Gila
County Sheriff’s Sgt. Terry Hudgens arrived, the woman was
actually farther north than reported and not in the water.
The woman told Hudgens she had been crossing the creek with
friends when she fell from a log and jammed her left ankle
between two rocks.
Her friends helped pull her from the creek, but she was unable
to walk back to the trailhead, some four miles up a steep
Not knowing this, Pitterle along with volunteers grabbed their
water rescue gear and drove to the trailhead, 20 miles
northeast of Payson.
When TRSAR arrived at the trailhead, they were told the woman
was fine and did not need to be rescued from the creek.
However, she still needed to be carried out. Volunteers
wheeled a litter down to the woman and with the help of the
woman’s seven friends, carried her out.
“This was a great help because several of her friends were
strong and helped carry her out,” Pitterle said.
It took four hours to carry the woman to the trailhead, where
she was then transported by ambulance to the hospital.
Hudgens said it is possible she broke her ankle, but he did
not know for sure.
This was TRSAR’s second rescue from the creek in less than a
week. On July 19, a family of four, including two children,
ran out of water and became dehydrated while hiking Fossil
Half a dozen TRSAR volunteers hiked down to the family, gave
them water and helped them walk back to their vehicle.