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Injured Grand Canyon hiker, 63, saved after friends abandoned him to continue backpacking

A 63-year-old hiker was rescued Friday at Grand Canyon National Park after he was injured in a fall and his group of friends left him behind to continue their “backpacking adventure,” authorities said.

Five friends were backpacking on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park along the Kanab Creek when one of them, a 63-year-old male, fell and suffered a traumatic injury to his shoulder, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue said.

The sheriff’s office received a call for help around 6 p.m. from someone using an Apple device through a satellite connection and dispatched search and rescue crews.

When a rescue helicopter reached the location provided by the Apple device, it was dark with tall canyon walls surrounding Kanab Creek. The chopper could not land in the tight space and was forced to land about a quarter mile from the hiker’s location.

Search and rescuers said it was fortunate that the helicopter was able to rescue the injured hiker and encouraged hiking groups to never leave someone behind alone, to ensure that they have been rescued.

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