Arizona Department of Public Safety (ADPS) Air Rescue helicopter crew assisted the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office with the search and rescue operation of an 87-year-old woman that was reported missing on Sunday, April 10. The ADPS’ “Ranger 42” helicopter and its crew, pilot and trooper – paramedic, located the woman near her death on Tuesday, April 12, at about 1:00 p.m.
The woman reportedly walked away from her vehicle that had become stuck on a muddy remote road near Mud Mountain, in the area known as the Arizona Strip. The Ranger 42 crew responded to the last known point where ground searchers had tracked the victim’s direction of travel and “leapfrogged” in front of the ground search. Ground crews were able to establish additional last known points based on the woman’s tracks, but determined her tracks were wandering with no specific direction. It was determined the elderly woman left the dirt road system and was in the open desert, prompting an aerial “grid-type” search by Ranger 42.
The Ranger 42 crew eventually located the victim over ten miles away from her vehicle. The elderly woman was found lying on the ground and motionless behind a bush. She moved one arm as Ranger 42 circled overhead in an apparent attempt to get the crew’s attention. The ADPS pilot landed the helicopter and the trooper-paramedic made contact with and treated the severely dehydrated woman. She was suffering from exposure to the elements and from lack of food and water. The woman was too weak to sit up without assistance. She was located near the following coordinates: 36 40.165N 113 35.468W
The woman was flown to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St George, Utah where she was treated.
Terence Miyauchi the Department’s Aviation Manager said, “This mission is a great example of the collaborative efforts of multiple agencies in which the successful outcome potential multiplies. Even though our helicopter crew made the final discovery, it may not have been without the incredible effort of the Mohave County search team that tracked this victim to a defined search area. Potentially we could have still been searching a vast wilderness area.”