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Injured hiker extracted from under boulder loosened by rain

March 14, 2020 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix officials on Saturday temporarily closed two popular trails up Camelback Mountain after firefighters extracted a seriously injured hiker from under a boulder apparently loosened by recent rain.

The boulder estimated to weigh 300 pounds (136 kilograms) landed on the man when he grabbed it to stabilize himself while moving to the side of Cholla Trail to let other hikers pass, the Fire Department said in a statement.

The Parks and Recreation Department said rain had loosened rocks and boulders and that Echo Canyon and Cholla trails will be reopened once they’re determined to be safe for public use.

Firefighters extracted the man from under the boulder by using tools commonly used to rescue somebody in a collapsed building or pinned under a vehicle, said fire Capt. Rob McDade, a Fire Department spokesman.

Firefighters initially used a wheeled gurney to then transport the man from the scene before a helicopter flew him to a hospital for treatment of extensive injuries to his lower extremities, McDade said.

The man’s identity wasn’t released but McDade said he was visiting from another state.