An Air and Marine Operations (AMO) UH-60 helicopter crew used a hoist to extract two hikers from the Catalina Mountains near Tucson shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday.
The hikers found themselves in trouble the night before after becoming exhausted and unable to navigate in the darkness.
Although a Search and Rescue (SAR) team from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department (PCSD) had located the missing hikers before midnight, they were in an area that would take rescuers approximately six hours to reach on foot.
Deputies needed to be airlifted closer to the location, but their aircrew was unable to find a safe place to land.
The lost hikers were able to communicate to PCSD that they had enough supplies to make it through the night.
Shortly after 1 a.m., PCSD contacted AMO and asked if a hoist-equipped aircraft was available to airlift the hikers and rescue workers who had made it to the location. AMO accepted the mission and launched their aircraft at first light.
(See Air and Marine Operations (AMO) in action. Credit: Daniel Barrios, AMO and YouTube)
After AMO completed the extraction portion of the mission, the hikers were transported to a nearby helicopter pad where they were evaluated by EMS personnel and found to be in good health.
AMO routinely responds to requests for assistance with searches and rescues in coordination with partner law enforcement agencies.
Rescue operations like this are considered high-risk, given the altitude and treacherous terrain. Using specialized equipment and training,
AMO provides a highly specialized capability in conducting these types of rescues.