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NYC Man Rescued Twice In As Many Days While Hiking In Arizona

A 28-year-old man from Brooklyn, New York, had to call 911 to be rescued two times in as many days while hiking near Arizona’s Humphreys Peak, the Arizona Daily Sun reported Tuesday.

Phillip Vasto called 911 Wednesday evening after getting lost in the snow while hiking on a trailhead and was rescued by a snow vehicle from a nearby resort, according to the Arizona Daily Sun. He reportedly called again the next day after falling off a ridge on a trailhead and had to be rescued by a helicopter, as his phone was nearly dead after using it for trail maps.

Vasto described himself as a very experienced hiker, but another man who stumbled into him after falling off the ridgeline told the Arizona Daily Sun that “it was very apparent that he wasn’t prepared for the climate that he had gotten himself into … I don’t think he was physically capable of getting back down before sunset,” the outlet reported.

Sgt. Aaron Dick, the responding officer to Vasco’s Wednesday call, said incidents like this have become more common as hikers rely on their cell phones for trail maps rather than diligently preparing for treks and carrying physical maps, according to the Arizona Daily Sun.

“They know that if things don’t go well, or they’re not enjoying themselves and it’s not working out the way they wanted to, they can push a button, make a call and summon assistance quickly,” Dick said, according to the Arizona Daily Sun. Though Dick noted that cell phones have made rescue operations “a lot less complex.”

Arizona search and rescue operations, which are fully funded by taxpayers, cost $1000 per hour, according to the Daily Sun.

“You can easily injure yourself and get hypothermia up there. I actually did mess up my leg a bit,” the hiker wrote in an Instagram post after the incidents. He said the hike was more difficult than Mount Kilimanjaro during a similar point in the season.

“I’m not ashamed of turning back. After all, life isn’t worth losing for a cool Instagram picture.”

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