Woman rescued after being stranded for 5 days

A 24-year-old Texas woman was rescued after being stranded in a remote area near the Grand Canyon for five days. The woman made a sign requesting help, making it easier for rescuers to locate her, Havasupai Reservation, Arizona, March 2017 | Photo courtesy of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A 24-year-old woman was rescued after being stranded in a remote area near the Grand Canyon for five days. Upon finding herself stranded, authorities said the woman did “everything right” in following the proper survival procedures, making it possible for rescue crews to successfully find and bring her to safety.

Troopers with the AZDPS Air Rescue unit located the vehicle of a 24-year-old Texas woman who was subsequently rescued after being stranded in a remote area near the Grand Canyon for five days, Havasupai Reservation, Arizona, March 2017 | Photo courtesy of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, St. George News

The woman was traveling in a remote area of the Havasupai Reservation in Arizona when she became stranded after her car ran out of gas, according to a statement issued Wednesday by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

The woman was able to reach a 911 operator on March 17 and tell them she was stranded in an area near the south rim of the Grand Canyon, officials said. However, the woman’s cellphone call was dropped before officials could determine her exact location.

Using their knowledge of the area, Coconino County Sheriff’s deputies and troopers with the AZDPS Air Rescue unit determined the woman would likely be in the area of Indian Route 18 and Anita Road, within the Havasupai Reservation, according to the statement.

As the helicopter crew searched the area on Anita Road between Indian Route 18 and U.S. 64, they spotted a glare from the woman’s vehicle. A large makeshift sign that read “HELP” was found near the vehicle, but the woman was gone.

A 24-year-old Texas woman was rescued after being stranded in a remote area near the Grand Canyon for five days. The woman made a sign requesting help, making it easier for rescuers to locate her, Havasupai Reservation, Arizona, March 2017 | Photo courtesy of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, St. George News

Rescuers were able to locate a note left by the woman, identified as Amber Vanhecke, 24 of Texas, stating that she was setting out to walk along the road in hopes of obtaining a cellphone signal, according to the Department of Public Safety.

The rescue helicopter then headed east, following the road, officials said, noting that rescuers subsequently spotted the woman “frantically waiving to get their attention.”

At the time of her rescue, Vanhecke’s food was gone and she had almost run out of water.

A 24-year-old Texas woman was rescued after being stranded in a remote area near the Grand Canyon for five days, Havasupai Reservation, Arizona, March 2017 | Photo courtesy of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, St. George News

Vanhecke was treated at the scene for exposure and then transported by helicopter to a trauma center in Flagstaff, Arizona.

“She was smart and prepared,” AZDPS Trooper Edgar Bissonette said in a statement. “She had food and water in her vehicle for the trip. Even though she was down to her last bit of water, it kept her going. When she left the vehicle, she left notes so we knew where to find her. She did everything right.”

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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Email: kscott@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • utahdiablo March 23, 2017 at 10:42 am

    AZ trooper says she was smart? Except that she had no extra fuel ( maybe know your car’s fuel range before going off the grid? ) and a case of water ( $2 bucks at any grocery store ) and a backpack with food supplies and some medicine? also have a real paper map, don’t just rely on your damn cell phone…glad she’s ok though

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