A 58-year-old man who was hiking the Arizona Trail, which stretches from Mexico to Utah, was rescued by the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) three days after he went missing. The hiker, who went without food and water for several days, was found in the wilderness in a critical condition, officials said Wednesday.
The man, a resident of Tucson, Arizona, who had begun hiking on the trail 11 days ago was rescued after a helicopter crew from Flagstaff spotted a backpack and sleeping bag on the ground. The team then found the man about 800 feet down a canyon, WFSB, a local news network, reported. The man, whose name was not released, was rushed to a hospital in nearby Payson.
"Honestly, it's one of these rescues where you say, 'This guy would be dead today,'" said Ken Twigg, a DPS rescue pilot, according to the Associated Press. "His condition deteriorated to the point that he was unable to move."
Chris Hecht, a DPS paramedic, said Wednesday that the crew found the hiker in an area that had vegetation, and explained that the hiker may have gone there in search of water. Hecht also said that it would have been difficult for the team to find him had he gone further down into the canyon, USA Today reported. The Gila County Sheriff's Office coordinated the search.
The team had responded to an emergency call made by the man’s wife. She told them her husband texted her Monday morning saying that he had no water or food. After that she did not hear from him following which she called 911, according to the AP.