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Wed, June 26

Search teams struggled with terrain before locating bodies of 3 missing off-roaders

Teams from many agencies assisted in the recovery of three bodies last week in the Hualapai Mountains. (MCSO Search and Rescue photo)

Teams from many agencies assisted in the recovery of three bodies last week in the Hualapai Mountains. (MCSO Search and Rescue photo)

KINGMAN – On Wednesday, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue technical rope rescue team recovered the bodies of three motorists missing since Nov. 17 from a canyon approximately 500 feet below the road.

The rescue team used high-angle lowering and raising technical rope recovery to retrieve the bodies of 66-year-old James Keel, Nancy Walker, 62, and Ebert Johnson, 61. Search and Rescue found the vehicle around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in an area of steep and rugged terrain.

Investigators believe the driver lost control of the vehicle and it left the roadway, landing several hundred feet into a canyon. No foul play is suspected, and the investigation is ongoing. The three were taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office.

The search area, more than 180 square miles, was in the eastern, northern, and southern slopes of the Hualapai Mountains. It extended north to Interstate 40 and east to Highway 93. More than 8,000 miles of primitive roads were covered by ground teams during the search.

The search effort involved Mohave County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, Bureau of Land Management Kingman Field Office, and the Walapai 4 Wheelers. The Arizona Wing of the Civil Air Patrol provided fixed-wing air support, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety in Kingman and Flagstaff provided helicopter support.

Staff of the Hualapai Mountain Park and Ranger Station and the Mohave County Emergency Management Communication team supported Command Post operations.

Information provided by the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office

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