Page hikers rescue: DPS helicopter flies hikers out of Arizona canyon

PAGE, AZ - A state police helicopter on Friday flew two hikers out of a remote canyon in northern Arizona as authorities responded to distress signals from the pair.

An Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter from Kingman was able to find a safe place to land in Paria Canyon and then airlifted the hikers one at a time to the Page airport, the Coconino County Sheriff's Office said.

Paria Canyon is located approximately 10 miles west of Page in an area that features towering sandstone cliffs and narrow slot canyons off the main canyon.

A DPS helicopter from Phoenix had located the hikers late Thursday and saw one of them flashing "SOS" with a flashlight.

However, the helicopter was unable to land in the canyon late Thursday because of darkness and a brownout caused by blowing dust, sheriff's spokesman Gerry Blair said.

The spokesman said one of the men had what was described as a minor medical condition but declined treatment before leaving the area.

Blair identified the hikers as William Austin of Flagstaff and Andrew Childers, hometown unknown, and said a deputy was returning the men to their vehicle.

There's no cellphone service in the canyon and authorities prior to the airlift were considering putting a two-way radio and other supplies wrapped in sleeping bags to drop to the men so they could communicate with them about their status.

Search and rescue crews also had gone to the area Friday to begin hiking into the canyon to reach the hikers.

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