Dramatic rescue gets elderly woman off of mountain

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

WADDELL, Ariz. -- First responders kept busy at the White Tank Mountains Regional Park responding to two hiker rescues Tuesday morning.

The first rescue involved a couple who spent the night stranded in the park. It took a dramatic rescue to get one of them off the mountain. The hikers actually started hiking around 11:00 a.m. Monday, and ended up camping out overnight because they got lost in the desert.

They were cold and didn't have anything to drink when first responders reached them Tuesday.  An 82-year-old woman had fallen after she and her husband got lost during a hike. "She was stable, just unable to get out of the rugged area," said David Bremson, a rescuer.

"They were sitting down; she was covered up with a bunch of branches to keep warm,” said Ed Philpott, a Sheriff's deputy.

Deputies said the couple went off the trail to explore. "They should have stayed on the trails,” said Deputy Cornwell.

Rescuers said because of the woman's age, they decided not to walk her out, and decided to short haul her instead.

"You could tell she was a little dehydrated a little shaken up from the fall. She fell when she rolled a little bit down the hill,” said Deputy Cornwell.

Paramedics were quick to put her in the ambulance for a further evaluation "I'm fine. Just, my body is just sore," she said.

Her husband felt comfortable enough to walk down the trail with rescuers. In the end they felt well enough to drive off in their own car.

Another rescue happened shortly after. There was a man who stayed on the trail but started to feel faint as temperatures climbed. “I just kind of passed out a little," he said.

Joetta Nolan said she saw him on the trail with his friend passing out. "I gave him some food, and then I gave him an electrolyte drink; then he kind of passed out again," she said.

So, she called 9-1-1. "Because it was scary, you know. I didn't know what was going on," she said. When he started feeling better she said her husband gave him his hiking poles to help him walk down. “And we just kind of watched him closely," she said.

Then rescuers met them along the way. "They were really nice; they helped me a lot," said the hiker.

"We've seen that now, twice, just this morning:  people who have gone deep into the desert who are running into problems," said Colin Williams with the Rural Metro Fire Department. He said it's important to be prepared when you are out hiking because you may be a long ways from help.