TRSAR Missions - Box Canyon Rescue - March 3, 2010 - Page 1
here for page two photos)
By Alexis Bechman
March 5, 2010
A rushing, frigid creek, sheer
cliffs, a stranded dog and a near-hypothermic man all added up to
one challenging rescue for the Tonto Rim Search and Rescue squad.
On Wednesday, TRSAR had its hands full with its first mission of the
A Rim Country man in his 50s to 60s was swept down Tonto Creek near
the R-Bar-C Boy Scout Ranch after attempting to rescue his dog,
which had been tossed down stream by the rushing creek.
TRSAR Commander Bill Pitterle said around 2:30 p.m. he got a call
that the man was hanging precariously on a boulder in the middle of
the creek waiting for rescue.
Reportedly, the man and a woman companion were walking two dogs near
the creek when one dog got into the creek and was quickly swept
downstream. The dog managed to get out of the chilly water, but on
the other side where the man could not reach him.
“In his attempts to get the dog, he got in the water and got swept
downstream a quarter of a mile,” Pitterle said.
In the course of his quarter-mile journey, the man went over several
waterfalls, eventually going over a 15-foot high waterfall and
becoming pinned underneath the water.
Through sheer panic and flailing, the man freed himself and got up
onto a rock in the middle of the creek, he said.
Although the man had managed to secure himself on the rock, he could
not get off because of the fast-moving creek.
Luckily, the woman with him had witnessed the whole ordeal and
called for help.
The Gila County Sheriff’s Office responded and called TRSAR for
When Pitterle arrived, he realized the man was located 200 feet down
in the middle of a canyon, so it would be impossible to hike in.
Volunteers rigged a pulley system and then lowered Pitterle and
another volunteer down to a ledge across from the man. Although the
man was still 12 feet away, they managed to toss over a harness.
It took a while for rescuers to talk the man through putting on the
harness because he was very cold and had been sitting on the rock
for four hours.
“He was not in great shape,” he said.
Since the man did not have the strength, rescuers pulled him up 200
By 6:30 p.m., the man was safe in his car and had few injuries.
However, the dog was still stranded on the other side of the creek.
A sheriff’s deputy and several TRSAR volunteers managed to get to
the dog and safely bring him back to his owner.
Photos By Morris Brown and Ken Messinger
pictures for larger versions