3 overdue hikers rescued in northern AZ - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

3 overdue hikers rescued in northern AZ

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FLAGSTAFF, AZ (CBS5) -

Three overdue hikers were rescued after a search patrol hiked six hours into Oak Creek Canyon to reach them.

A relative of one of the hikers who was waiting to pick them up called the Coconino County Sheriff's Office Tuesday night after the trio failed to appear.

The hikers, a 73-year-old man from Flagstaff and two hiking companions from Michigan, a man and woman, both 31, began their trek Sunday at around 5 p.m., when they set up camp for the night off of Wood Mountain Road.

Early Monday, the hikers stepped off on their 14-mile hike with the intention of being halfway through the canyon by Monday evening and camping overnight at that location, said Coconino County sheriff's spokesman Gerald Blair. 

The hikers encountered a lot more water in the canyon than they anticipated due to this season's monsoon, Blair said.

An Arizona Department of Public Safety air rescue helicopter joined the search team.  

As crew members flew the canyon, they spotted what they believed to be an emergency signal coming from a light source about seven miles into the canyon.

A search coordinator and a volunteer who were both wearing dry suits hiked into the canyon to reach the victims, which took about six hours, Blair said.

They reached the hikers and found them hungry, thirsty and wet but otherwise in good condition.

The DPS helicopter dropped food, water and three dry suits to the group.

Two rescuers escorted the hikers to the trailhead of South Highway 89 A, where the reporting party was waiting for them.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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