PRELIMINARY INFORMATION - On April 28, 2016, around 9:30 AM, YCSO dispatchers received a call from a man who indicated his friend had fallen while they were hiking together on Turret Peak in Yavapai County. The caller, a man in his 70’s, stated his friend - identified as 79-year-old Duane Wood of Phoenix - had fallen at least 50 feet and it appeared dead.
Turret Peak is located several miles east of I17 off Bloody Basin Road.
A YCSO Forest Patrol deputy immediately began coordinating rescue efforts by calling out a DPS Ranger Helicopter Crew and the Backcountry Team from the Yavapai County Search and Rescue Team (YCSRT). Just after 11AM, the DPS Ranger Crew located the pair, landed and confirmed Wood had died. They recovered his body and flew him to a coordinated landing zone where a crew from the Medical Examiner’s Office took custody.
Wood’s friend told deputies that although they hike on a regular basis, this was their first time attempting to hike and climb Turret Peak. Just before the fall, Wood was climbing ahead of him as both were negotiating the mostly unimproved landscape. While looking down for good footing, he heard Wood fall, looked up and saw Wood tumbling down a steep slope at least 50’ before coming to rest. When he approached Wood to render aid, Wood was unconscious and appeared dead.
Deputies noted Wood had sustained a visible head injury.
Deputies indicated the area where this pair was hiking is covered with heavy vegetation and large rocks. It is not a common hiking destination and there are generally no marked trails.
The exact cause of death of Mr. Wood will be determined by the Medical Examiner. His family has been notified.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov