Pine-Strawberry Fire Chief Located After Going Missing During Hike

Oct 30, 2019

Authorities say a fire chief in east-central Arizona who was reported missing after a hike has been located and doesn't appear to be injured.

Credit Pine-Strawberry Fire District/Gila County Sheriff's Office

Gila County Sheriff's officials say a search and rescue crew made cellphone contact with 73-year-old Gary Morris on Wednesday afternoon.

They say a helicopter was in the process or airlifting him out of the Mazatzal Wilderness southwest of Payson.

Authorities say Morris is an avid hiker and planned to cover 51 miles over four days on the Arizona Trail in the Mazatzal Wilderness.

The search began Tuesday after Morris was reported overdue in calling for a ride after the scheduled completion of a solo hike.

Morris is fire chief for the Pine-Strawberry Fire District and a member of Tonto Rim Search and Rescue.