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Recent TRSAR Missions -  Tonto Natural Bridge State Park 06/21/2014


By Alexis Bechman Payson Roundup

A 14-year-old was badly injured this weekend when she slipped and fell while hiking below Tonto Natural Bridge State Park north of Payson.

The girl’s father told rescuers they were walking across the slick rocks under the bridge when the girl fell forward and hit her head.

She was knocked unconscious, but had come around by the time rescuers arrived from Pine-Strawberry Fire and Tonto Rim Search and Rescue, said Bill Pitterle, TRSAR’s commander.

While the girl could initially answer questions, her condition deteriorated rapidly.

TRSAR volunteers knew they had to carry the girl out quickly because head injuries can result in life-threatening brain swelling.

“We did everything we could to get her out quickly,” he said. “She was pretty out of it.”

A dozen volunteers took turns carrying the litter out, some wearing harnesses to pull.

A helicopter was waiting above at the observation area and flew her to a Valley hospital.

Once there, doctors discovered her injuries were severe.

“This was a tough rescue for us,” Pitterle said. “It became apparent it was urgent and we really pushed it getting her out.”

Pitterle and a dozen TRSAR volunteers were rope training in Strawberry at the time of the call, which made for a speedy response.


Photos By Morris Brown                        Click for larger pictures


Copyright © 2017 Tonto Rim Search and Rescue Squad

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