A 39-year-old woman hiking on South Mountain Monday evening had to be rescued by Phoenix emergency response crews after she fell and injured her knee.

Phoenix police used a helicopter to find the unidentified woman as fire rescue crews made their way up from Pima Canyon Trailhead, at the east end of South Mountain in Ahwatukee Foothills, said Capt. Jonathan Jacobs, a Phoenix Fire Department spokesman. The woman was hiking with her 16-year-old daughter around 5:15 p.m. when she fell and called 911, he said.

"She was fairly deep, a couple of miles in, probably in the center of the park," Jacobs said. "It was just getting dark about then."

Firefighters wrapped her leg and assisted her down the mountain, where she drove off on her own, he said.

Such rescues are fairly common, with 171 in Phoenix parks and preserves in 2009 and 164 in 2010, Jacobs said.

Capt. Tony Mure, another fire department spokesman, said the number of rescues per year on Piestewa Peak and Camelback Mountain are each about 10 times higher than the number of rescues on South Mountain each year. Often, hikers in need of help are out-of-town visitors or people who are new to hiking the desert, he said.

Mure said the expense of each rescue can run into the thousands of dollars, but victims are not billed for the service, unless they have to be transported by ambulance or emergency helicopter.

"Because you're a taxpayer, it's a service provided by the city of Phoenix," he said.

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