Lost and hurt hikers, airplane emergency landing keeps MCSO busy

Keita Kojima, 20, of Goodyear had to emergency land his airplane on a pipeline road parallel to Interstate 40 near milepost 12 on Dec. 29. It was of several incidents that had Mohave County Sheriff’s on its toes over the past week.

Courtesy/Mohave County Sheriff’s Office

Keita Kojima, 20, of Goodyear had to emergency land his airplane on a pipeline road parallel to Interstate 40 near milepost 12 on Dec. 29. It was of several incidents that had Mohave County Sheriff’s on its toes over the past week.

KINGMAN – Mohave County Sheriff’s deputies and Search and Rescue crews were hot on their toes this holiday weekend.

Winter weather got the best of a local photographer’s New Year’s celebrations as SAR units were deployed early Sunday morning to find Akio Matsuo, 41, of Kingman stranded on Bull Mountain.

According to Mohave County Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Trish Carter, Matsuo hiked up the mountain on New Year’s Eve to take pictures of the evening lights. The weather changed, and rain and fog started moving in on the mountains. Matsuo called 911 and SAR units responded and found him at about 5 a.m. New Year’s Day. The report said other than being cold and hungry, he was okay.

Search and rescue crews were at it again, this time near Sara Park in Lake Havasu City.

They assisted Lake Havasu Fire Department personnel Monday night to find a missing hiker when she was separated from her husband in the Sara Park area.

A man said that he and his wife, Nylene Haseman, 71, both of Lake Havasu City, were hiking through the mountain trail known as Sara’s Crack when they became separated around 5 p.m. The man said he called 911 after an hour of unsuccessful attempts to find Haseman.

SAR units responded to the Sara Park area at about 6 p.m. and worked jointly with the LHCFD personnel. Haseman was located stuck in the canyon at about 9:30 p.m. when a SAR member heard someone in the far distance repeatedly say “Woohoo” in what sounded like a soft voice.

Haseman had fallen about 12 feet down the canyon and into water, breaking her ankle, injuring her shoulder and damaging her cellphone. Crews from SAR and LHCFD jointly evacuated her out of the canyon. The area was too rugged and narrow for a helicopter rescue, so she was placed in a basket and moved along like a conveyor belt with a line of crews passing her out of the canyon.

She was transported to a suitable landing zone and airlifted to Havasu Regional Medical Center by Native Air. Haseman also suffered from hypothermia. The joint rescue operation by SAR and LHCFD significantly increased Haseman’s recovery.

Mohave County Sheriff’s deputies responded to an emergency landing of an airplane approximately 20 miles north of Lake Havasu City Dec. 29.

At about 12:50 p.m., deputies responded to a pipeline road parallel to Interstate 40 near milepost 12 where a pilot performed an emergency landing of a Diamond fixed-wing single engine airplane. The pilot and single occupant, Keita Kojima, 20, of Goodyear, was flying when the aircraft lost oil pressure. Kojima spotted the pipeline road and landed the plane, where it sustained minimal damage. The pilot is a flight student and was not injured.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have been notified.

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