RAPPEL ERROR—ROPE NOT ANCHORED, NO BELAY
Arizona, Oak Creek Canyon
On April 13, Benjamin Rusev (19) fell 75 feet down a cliff in Oak Creek Canyon. At the time, he was attempting to rappel. Rusevs partner tried to grab the line after Rusev began falling.
Many other people were climbing in the area—one of the most popular climbing spots near Flagstaff—when Rusev fell. (The overlook is about eight miles south of Flagstaff.) One of them was a registered nurse, Jeff Davis, who works at Flagstaff Medical Center. Davis and other climbers cared for Rusev while rescue teams headed to the scene. Eleven members of the Coconino County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team responded, as did Kachina Village firefighters and an Arizona Department of Public Safety air-rescue team. (Source: Arizona Daily Sun, April 4, 1996)
(Editor’s Note: Angelo Kokenakis, a mountain guide from Flagstaff, reported in a letter that the usual beginning climbing area of this crag had been closed off for safety reasons—to protect the non-climbing public who use the crag as a vista lookout. So these neophytes were actually using an unknown 80 foot crag rather than the established 30 foot beginner area.)