Feb. 5 - The Coconino County Sheriff's Office responded to two simultaneous search and rescue missions on the evening of Feb. 4.
At approximately 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 4, the CCSO received a report of two overdue woodcutters in the area of Devil Dog Road west of Williams. Two men from the Chino Valley area had traveled traveled into the Kaibab National Forest via Devil Dog Road. Their vehicle became disabled due to deep snow conditions.
The two men left their vehicle and began hiking out on Forest Service Road 108 toward Perkinsville Road, south of Williams. The men reported this information to a family member, who then called the CCSO. Neither man was prepared for the weather conditions of extreme cold and deep snow. They had no food, water, flashlights or fire building materials.
CCSO deputies, CCSO Search and Rescue and the Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter responded to the rescue mission. A DPS flight crew located the two men approximately 1.8 miles west of the junction of Perkinsville Road and FSR 108 at approximately 11:30 p.m. but was unable to land due to snow conditions. Search and Rescue volunteers and deputies accessed the men by snowmobiles and snow cat and transported them to a waiting Life Line Ambulance at midnight. The men were reunited with family and friends and received a medical assessment.
At 9:30 p.m. the CCSO received a report for a second rescue mission on FSR 74 north of the Deer Farm area near the El Paso gas line for a Williams area family. A father, mother and five children became stranded in a four-wheel-drive vehicle in deep snow at approximately 6 p.m. The family had no food or water.
The husband and eldest son hiked back to the family's residence on Hoctor Road, retrieved a second vehicle and reported the incident to the CCSO. The mother and four children remained with their vehicle.
A CCSO deputy responded to command this incident and located the mother and four children in their vehicle in good condition. The mother had been able to dig all four wheels loose from the snowdrifts and was driving out when located by the deputy at approximately 11:30 p.m.
The CCSO reminds travelers and recreationists to be prepared for extreme weather conditions while traveling in northern Arizona. The CCSO reminds those traveling in cold, snowy conditions to -
Always assess whether or not you are prepared for your travel plans.
Maintain an ample supply of food and water.
Dress in layers of warm and water resistant type clothing.
Always have a light source and communications capability such as a cell phone and radio.
Carry fire starting materials.
Become fully competent in the use of navigational aids such as GPS, compass and Forest Service and topographical maps of the area.
Always tell someone of your travel plans with time of departure and time of return.