YCSO rescues men stranded 2 nights in wilderness

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

SEDONA -- Yavapai County Sheriff's Office personnel rescued two men stranded for two nights in the wilderness in Northern Arizona.

Just before 7 a.m. on Sunday, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office received a cell phone call from two men who were lost and stranded in the Wet Beaver Wilderness area near Forest Road 618. The area is located east of Interstate 17 at the Highway 179 turn-off.

Carl Schwimmer, 61, of Flagstaff, told the sheriff's office that he and Thomas Pearsall, 56, of Cottonwood, had been in the area the day before driving an ATV, which ran out of gas.

Sheriff's spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said the men had water but no food.

YCSO Forest Patrol began coordinating a search effort to find the men.

Sheriff's office communications personnel began efforts to track the missing men with assistance from their cell phone company. D'Evelyn said the cell phone carrier could only provide very general coordinates based on the closest cell phone tower.

The DPS Ranger helicopter was able to fly briefly, and although the missing men were not spotted, they told rescue personnel the helicopter was heard flying overhead.

Rescue teams also learned that the men found an old shed to stay in, which provided some shelter from the extreme weather. The men were also able to light a warming fire.

Search efforts continued throughout the night as weather permitted. D'Evelyn said the men's cell phone was used sparingly to save battery power.

At approximately 10 a.m. on Monday, members of the rescue team located the shed and rescued Schwimmer and Pearsall in good condition. It took several hours to safely bring both men out. Neither required medical attention.