Superstition Mountain Rescue

Monday, 26 October 2009

By Jill Jones
Today Publications

When Alice Dodgson, 72, from Michigan embarked on a hike in Peralta Canyon on Thursday, October 22, 2009 she never expected to be returning from her hike in a helicopter, but that’s exactly what happened.

Ms. Dodgson fell after she slipped on some loose rock while hiking, resulting in a painful compound fracture of both the tibia and fibula. Superstition Search and Rescue and Sonoran Search and Rescue received the call to assist around 2 p.m.

Although it took rescuers a couple of hours to reach her, they said that Ms. Dodgson was a “real trooper,” stoically enduring the pain until help arrived. After attending to her injuries, it was determined that it would be best not to subject her to a bumpy ride down the mountain, so a DPS helicopter was called in to assist.

Ms. Dodgson was carefully loaded into a stokes basket and carried 1/2 mile up to Fremont Saddle where a DPS helicopter was waiting to take her to a nearby hospital for treatment.

“We got to the top, and the pilots shined their lights – which almost made them look like angels. Alice broke out in tears, and could not thank us all enough. They were grateful tears, not tears of pain. She was a trooper the whole way up,” said SSAR member Jeff Harris.

Superstition Search and Rescue (SSAR) and Sonoran Search and Rescue are volunteer service organizations affiliated with, but not funded by, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office that assist individuals who experience wilderness-related problems in the Superstition Wilderness Area.

Both teams rely on donations from individuals and/or corporations and fund-raising activities to support the training and equipment needed to continue serving individuals who find themselves in a situation in which they require assistance. All donations are tax deductible and no matter what the amount, provide the group with valuable equipment and resources necessary to do their job – saving lives.

If you would like to donate to Superstition Search & Rescue, please send a check or money order payable to SSAR, P.O. Box 1123, Apache Junction, AZ 85217. For more information on SSAR or to make on online donation visit SSAR at

For information on Sonoran Search and Rescue visit their website at or call Louie Villa at 520-705-7511.

SSAR Will Not Join Sheriff’s Posse

For Immediate Release from Superstition Search and Rescue:

Superstition Search and Rescue (SAR) would like the citizens of Pinal County, whom we have served for the past 15 years, to know that SSAR will not be joining Sheriff Paul Babeu’s newly proposed search and rescue posse program. A decision was made by open team vote on Tuesday, October 13, 2009, with 95 percent of our membership in attendance, that SSAR can better serve the citizens of Pinal County by continuing to operate as a separate resource, rather than to become a part of a posse program.

SSAR has our own command structure which has a proven track record and which follows the highest standards in the industry. Our members are professionally trained in all wilderness search and rescue techniques including wilderness first response. Because of this we have successfully assisted and saved over 2,000 lives in this decade alone.

We do not believe we should require members of our highly trained group to become posse members if they do not wish to do so. We feel this decision should be left to the personal choice of each and every member.

We also believe that operating as a posse search and rescue unit would further burden tax payers and limited county funds. Our team, through its affiliation with the sheriff’s office, received liability insurance through that association. Going forward we will be covered through provisions in Arizona State Statutes for volunteers and volunteer organizations, in addition to having the option of obtaining liability insurance through the National Association of Search and Rescue, thereby saving the county additional expense.

Over the last 15 years, SSAR, a 501c3 organization has been fortunate to be supported and equipped through private donations and fundraisers for which we are extremely grateful. We intend to continue to provide quality, highly skilled and professional search and rescue services under this model. It is our hope that we will continue to receive the support of the community as we move forward in our decision to provide independent skilled search and rescue services to you; our citizens, visitors and friends.

For additional information on SSAR, to make a donation, to become a member or to volunteer, please visit our website at