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Rescue teams pull stranded hikers off snowy Arizona mountain

PHOENIX – Multiple rescue crews combined efforts to pull three hikers off a snowy mountain in northern Arizona this week, authorities said.

An Arizona Army National Guard helicopter airlifted the three to safety Tuesday out of a Sedona canyon, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.

Teams from Coconino, Gila and Maricopa counties helped make the save. Ground teams had made their way across rough terrain and nearly 2 feet of snow for two days after the weather kept air crews out of action.

“Considering the severe weather, these hikers are extremely lucky to be alive,” Sheriff David Rhodes said in a social media post Wednesday.

The out-of-town hikers’ misfortune began Sunday. The two men and a woman, all in their mid-20s, called the sheriff’s office from Bear Mountain in Haribo Canyon around 6:30 p.m. They said they’d rappelled down a cliff about 200 feet and had gotten stuck.

The trio had a few supplies and they weren’t prepared for the extreme weather. A winter storm began dumping snow in the area Saturday night, about 8 inches worth hit Flagstaff.

“This is an important reminder to pay attention to the weather conditions before embarking on our trails. Winter or summer, Arizona trails can be dangerous if you aren’t prepared,” Rhodes said.

The sheriff’s office stayed in touch with the hikers on their cellphones, which were running low on power.

Weather conditions improved enough by 4 p.m. Tuesday for the UH-60 Black Hawk to take off.

The hikers, who are from the East Coast, were taken to a hospital and treated for weather-related health issues, the sheriff’s office said.

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