Marines with the Search and Rescue team from MCAS Yuma helped rescue a woman, along with her two dogs, who was stranded in the Muggins Mountains Saturday night after she got lost hiking.

According to spokesman Alfonzo Zavala, at approximately 6:06 p.m., the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a female reporting that she had become lost while hiking in the Muggins Wilderness area near Wellton.

"The caller also reported that she had two canines with her, one of which was injured," Zavala said.

Zavala said deputies, along with two U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Wellton Station, responded to the area and were able to get a general location of her whereabouts using the caller’s cell phone tracking system.

Since the lost hiker was in an area that was inaccessible by vehicle, the Border Patrol agents and the deputy had to hike approximately two miles through rugged terrain to reach her and her animals.

A second deputy that responded to the area, Zavala said, remained on the phone with the caller during the incident until help arrived.

Given the rugged terrain and that it was now dark, the sheriff's office contacted the Yuma Marine Corps Air Station Search and Rescue Unit for assistance.

MCAS Yuma received a call from the sheriff's office through its Base Operations at 8:40 p.m. and the aircrew of three Marines and a Navy corpsman departed the air station within the hour.

Shortly after, the SAR team located the hiker, along with the deputy and Border Patrol agents who made it to her on foot. The hiker was found to be dehydrated but not injured.

The hiker, her two dogs, the Border Patrol agents, and the sheriff deputy were airlifted by the SAR unit back to their vehicles by 10:20 p.m.

Sheriff Leon Wilmot stated, “Once again, this shows the outstanding collaboration with our local federal partners to accomplish a complicated mission by providing additional resources and manpower.”

The sheriff's office would like to remind the public to plan ahead before hiking in the local desert areas.

James Gilbert can be reached at or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.


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