Local News


Elderly Arizona woman rescued after 9 days

Posted at 11:23 AM, Apr 12, 2016
A 72-year-old woman missing since March 31 was rescued by the Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue Unit in the area of Canyon Creek in Gila County. 
On March 31, Ann Rodgers and her dog found themselves stranded on a remote stretch of a back country road near Canyon Creek located on the White Mountain Apache Reservation.
Reportedly, while en route to Phoenix for a planned visit with her grandkids, Rodgers became lost, ran out of gas and depleted the charge in her hybrid vehicle.
Rodgers became disoriented and attempted to climb several ridge lines in an attempt to establish cell phone service in order to call for help. For the next nine days and nights, Rodgers and her dog survived in the wilderness drinking pond water and eating plants.
Rodgers vehicle was discovered on April 3 on the side of the remote road, prompting an exhaustive search over the next two days.
Two separate ADPS Ranger helicopters conducted an aerial search of the remote location but were unsuccessful in locating Rodgers.
On April 9, a White River Tribal Game and Fish officer found Rodger’s dog walking out of the Canyon Creek area. ADPS Ranger, out of Flagstaff, was again called to assist in the search.
During the aerial search, the aircraft crew spotted a distress signal spelling “HELP” made out of sticks and rocks on the canyon floor. A hand written message was discovered under the rock of the distress signal.
The message dated April 3, was from Rodgers, indicating that she was out of food and water and was proceeding down the canyon.
Further down the canyon, ADPS Ranger discovered what appeared to be a shelter that had been abandoned by Rodgers.
As ADPS continued the search and rounded a bend in the canyon, Rodgers was located standing next to a signal fire and waving to the helicopter.
Rodgers was suffering from exposure, but was in fair condition and able to walk to and board the helicopter with little assistance. She was transported by helicopter to a hospital in Payson for treatment.