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Rescue helicopter crashes, forcing distressed hikers to walk 8 miles out of Pine Mountain Wilderness

A rescue team tried to fly two distressed hikers off of Pine Mountain on Friday, but they were forced to walk out of the wilderness after their helicopter crashed.
Credit: YCSO

YAVAPAI COUNTY, Ariz. — Two distressed hikers had to walk themselves back to safety after a rescue helicopter crashed in the Pine Mountain Wilderness last week. . 

According to the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, a helicopter was dispatched to rescue two dehydrated hikers on Aug. 27 at about 5 p.m. After spotting them near a trailhead, the helicopter pilot landed the aircraft in a rocky area. 

The pilot brought the hikers water and guided them back to the helicopter. 

As the helicopter began to fly off the ground, it started to lose power and the pilot attempted to bring it back down. The strong winds pushed the helicopter about 20 feet into a dangerous area with large boulders and trees. 

The helicopter's rotor smashed into a tree, knocking out the aircraft's power supply. YCSO said the pilot still managed to safely land the helicopter without any passengers getting injured. 

The Arizona Department of Public Safety flew in to retrieve the pilot and hikers, but the bad weather prevented the agency from hoisting them out of the wilderness. 

The YCSO pilot decided to guide the hikers off the mountain by walking eight miles until they reached a point of safety. 

Pine Mountain is located near Tonto National Forest and the wilderness area includes several hiking trails that are managed by Prescott National Forest.  

Yavapai County Sheriff David Rhodes said he was glad to see the hikers and pilot all managed to get home safely without harm. 

“This highlights for people the danger that the rescuers face themselves when they are rescuing others," Rhodes said. "Our dedicated (rescue) teams put their safety in second place when they are out there trying to rescue those in need."

RELATED: 2 hikers rescued after getting lost in Pinal County, sheltering overnight in frigid temperatures

RELATED: Missing man found dead at Grand Canyon

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