The Whispering Pines Fire Department
called on the expertise of Tonto Rim Search and Rescue to
assist in extrication of a 27 year old man who had attempted
to jump off a cliff into the East Verde River near Water
Wheel Campground Saturday June 23rd.
The man landed head
first on a small ledge about thirty feet below suffering
head and shoulder trauma. Volunteers from Beaver Valley Fire
Dept., Houston Mesa Fire Dept., and employees from Lifestar
Ambulance also assisted on scene. WPFD Fire Chief Mark
Essary directed the operation from the campground while WPFD
Assistant Chief Dave Bullard climbed down to, the patient
and stabilized him.
Tonto Rim Search and
Rescue provided technical climbing gear and equipment to
pull the patient from the ledge. Once the patient was pulled
from the ledge he was hand carried by the volunteers about
three quarters of a mile over rough terrain to the
campground. He was then transported by the ambulance to a
landing zone where a helicopter took him to a level one
trauma center in Phoenix.
The Waterwheel campground is a popular swimming spot this
time of year and many people feel they must jump from the
cliffs into the river below. There have been multiple
injuries at this site and a few years ago a person died at
the same spot from this activity. Even if the jumper is not
killed, extrications are not cheap.
The ambulance and
helicopter rides, the fuel and equipment used can cost the
patient over $15,000.00! "That's a lot of money riding on
one jump" said an EMT at the scene. (by jumping) "They're
gambling not only with their money but also with their
health and possibly their life!"
Click on thumbnails for larger pictures
Assistant Chief Bullard works on the injured
jumper and a Lifestar Ambulance employee holds
the IV bag while on a ledge thirty feet below
the top on the cliff where people jump from.
Assistant Chief Bullard and a Lifestar Ambulance
employee lift the injured jumper into a stokes
basket while Tonto Search and Rescue volunteers
hold the basket in place from the side and from