Survival Weekly – 7/13/15…



Welcome to another edition of Survival Weekly, where the real wilderness survival “reality show” plays out everyday, in the wild places around our world. These unscripted stories will give you insight to the true threats and challenges you may face in your outdoor pursuits. So sit back, relax, and read on to get a dose of reality to sharpen your most valuable survival tool. – BPO

Featured – 

BigPig Outdoors Survivor Award goes to this champ!! Giving birth in the wilderness while surviving –

News – 

Go Smokies!!  –

Drone used in river rescue –

Good article on smartphones and GPS apps –

Water Safety – 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Kayaker Dies In Accident On Little Pigeon River

Rangers responded to a report of a kayak accident on the evening of July 2nd in the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River in the Greenbrier section of the park.

Kenneth C. Worthington, 53, of Apex, North Carolina, capsized his kayak and floated to the river edge, where friends pulled him from the river. Rangers, Gatlinburg Police Department officers, and Gatlinburg Fire Department personnel performed CPR on Worthington before he was transported to LeConte Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore (NC)
Three Visitors Injured In Separate Shark Encounters

Between June 26th and July 1st, visitors were injured in three separate encounters with sharks off park beaches:

  • On the morning of Friday, June 26th, the park received a report from the Dare County Sheriff’s Office 911 Center of a person apparently injured by a shark approximately one mile north of the Avon Fishing Pier.  Hatteras Island Rescue Squad paramedics and NPS rangers responded to the scene.  The victim, a 47-year-old man, had been swimming with others when the incident occurred.  He received various injuries to his right leg and lower back.  He was treated at the scene and then transported by ambulance and air flight to Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia, for further care.
  • On the following Saturday afternoon, Dare County 911 again advised the park that several EMS units were headed to the beach, this time near Waves, North Carolina, to treat an injured teenager. Ocean Rescue Squad paramedics and NPS rangers found that a 17-year-old boy had sustained injuries from a shark.  He was swimming with several others when the incident occurred, but no other swimmers were injured.  The victim received various injuries to his right calf, buttocks and both hands.  He was treated at the scene and then transported by life flight to Norfolk, Virginia, for further care.
  • Three days later, on July 1st, yet another call came in of an injured person, this time near the lifeguarded beach at Ocracoke. Rangers, lifeguards and responding emergency personnel determined that a 68-year old man had been injured by a shark. He had been swimming approximately 25 to 30 feet offshore in about waist-deep water with his adult son at the time. There were no other swimmers injured.  The victim received various injuries to his left lower torso and hip, lower left leg, and both hands.  He was treated at the scene and then transported by ambulance to the Ocracoke Airport for transport by East Care Airflight to Vidant Memorial Center, in Greenville, North Carolina, for further medical treatment.

“While the National Park Service does not know why there has been an increase of these incidents, we do want to make sure our visitors are aware of them and have a safe visit to the national seashore,” said Superintendent David Hallac. “We can never guarantee anyone’s safety when they enter the water.  The only way to be sure you do not encounter sharks or other marine wildlife that may be harmful to humans is to stay out of the water.”

The park has increased the number of visitor contacts on the beaches and posted information at key locations for visitors.

Grand Canyon National Park (AZ)
Visitors Rescued From Stuck Raft

On June 22nd, two visitors on a non-commercial river trip pinned their raft on rocks near the top of the Colorado River’s Hance Rapids. Unable to free themselves from this dangerous situation, the trip leader called for assistance.

River Rangers Bryan Stone and Dave Loeffler were flown to the scene with an inflatable Zodiac rescue boat and attempted unsuccessfully to reach the stuck visitors. Stone was subsequently inserted onto the stuck raft via helicopter short-haul and facilitated the extrication of the visitors via short-haul.

With reduced weight on the raft and a rising water level, the raft floated downstream the following morning after several interesting variations in the way it was pinned.

As the flight crew was flying to Hance Rapids to assist with the raft recovery and removal of the Zodiac, they diverted to a report of a capsized dory in Crystal Rapids with two visitors sitting atop the vessel. Upon arrival at Crystal Rapids, they found that the situation had self-resolved, as the two visitors had been swept into the river and rescued by their companions.  Rangers James Thompson and Erika Andersson served as the incident commanders.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area — NV, AZ
Search In Progress For Missing Man

Rangers are searching for a man who was last seen in the water in the Boulder Basin of Lake Mead.

On the afternoon of July 5th, park dispatch received a call from a person who reported that a man had jumped off a boat into the water and failed to resurface. Witnesses said he was wearing a lifejacket, but it came off when he jumped into the water.

Rangers, Coast Guard personnel, and Nevada Department of Wildlife game wardens responded and began searching for the missing man, who is believed to be about a half mile from the shoreline in an area that is 80 to 160 feet deep.

Crews are continuing to search the area. The incident is under investigation.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area – NV, AZ
Body Of Teenager Recovered From Lake Mohave

The body of a 17-year-old boy from North Las Vegas was recovered from Lake Mohave on July 1st.

The boy went underwater while swimming across Morning Star Cove on the previous afternoon and failed to resurface. He was with a group of friends who were cliff jumping in the Placer Cove area who’d decided to try to swim across Morning Star Cove to another cliff about 50 yards away. The teen started having difficulties. Two other friends took turns trying to help him to safety, but they could not hold on and he went underwater.

Rangers conducted an immediate search. Using sonar, search crews located what they believed to be the body around 7:30 p.m. on June 30th. Since there is little to no visibility underwater at night, the search was postponed until daylight.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Search and Rescue divers located the body underwater late on the morning of July 1st. He was not wearing a life jacket.

Missing swimmers and body recoveries –

3rd river


Hiking – 

Yellowstone National Park (ID,MT,WY)
Two People Injured After Approaching Bison

Two people were injured after getting too close to bison in separate incidents over the last two weeks. The first encounter occurred on June 23rd when an off-duty concession employee came upon a bison while walking off trail after dark in the Lower Geyser Basin area; the second incident occurred on July 1st when a visitor encountered a bison while hiking the Storm Point trail in the Yellowstone Lake area.

The first incident happened when a 19-year-old visitor and three friends were returning to their car after swimming in the Firehole River late at night. The girl and a companion were walking in the dark when they came upon a bison lying down about 10 feet from them. The companion turned and ran from the bison, but before the girl could react, the bison charged her and tossed her in the air.

The girl’s friends helped her to their car and drove back to Canyon Village, where all four live and work. At Canyon, the girl went to bed, but awoke a short time later feeling ill. Around one in the morning, the party called the Yellowstone Interagency Communication Center asking for medical help. Rangers transported her by ambulance to a hospital outside the park. She was was treated for minor injuries and released later that day.

The second incident occurred when a 68-year-old visitor was hiking on the Storm Point trail, approximately 300 yards from the trailhead, and encountered a bison near the trail. The woman continued on the trail; as she passed the bison, it charged and gored her. A witness ran up the trail to report the incident to an interpretive ranger leading a hike in the area. Shortly before 4:30 p.m., the ranger reported the incident to the Yellowstone Interagency Communication Center. Due to serious injuries, the woman was transported to Lake Clinic by ambulance and then flown to a hospital outside the park.

These were the third and fourth bison encounters to occur in Yellowstone National Park this summer. The other two occurred when visitors in the Old Faithful area approached too close to bison. Both visitors in those incidents were flown to a hospital due to their injuries.

Rocky Mountain National Park (CO)
Park’s SAR Team Makes Two Same-Day Rescues

Members of the park’s search and rescue team responded to two separate falling incidents just hours apart on Sunday, June 28th.

At 9:30 a.m., rangers were notified by cell phone that a 48-year-old man had taken a 50-foot fall while backcountry skiing on Sundance Mountain and had suffered numerous injuries. SAR personnel reached him at 11:45 a.m. They performed a technical evacuation, lowering him through snow, rocks and dense brush and eventually reaching Old Fall River Road at 7:30 p.m. He was taken by ambulance to Estes Park Medical Center.  Twenty people were involved in this rescue. Park search and rescue team members were assisted by two members of Douglas County Search and Rescue.

At noon, rangers were notified via another cell phone call that a 24-year-old man had taken a 150-foot tumbling fall down The Homestretch on the Keyhole Route on Longs Peak.  Rangers were able to speak with him; he told them that he’d suffered injuries but would attempt to continue down on his own.  Rangers left the Longs Peak Trailhead with the intent to assist him, but their efforts were hampered by severe weather and lightning.  Rangers reached him at 8:30 p.m. at the Keyhole.  They assisted him through The Boulder Field and spent the night in the Boulder Field with him.  At 8:00 a.m. on Monday morning, he was flown by Lifeguard One to Medical Center of the Rockies.  Park SAR team members were assisted by four members of Larimer County Search and Rescue.

Ice cave collapse kills one, injures four –

Three sisters get lost in Tetons –

Dehydration kills –

Lost & Injured hikers rescued –


Image :

Hunter-gatherer – 

Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park (CO)
Visitor Seriously Injured In Deer Attack

During the early afternoon hours of June 30th, a park visitor was attacked by a doe mule deer in the South Rim Campground. The woman was walking two small dogs on a leash when she was knocked to the ground by the deer. The deer then trampled the woman with its hooves, causing life threatening injuries.

Luckily, a campground host and other visitors heard the woman screaming and were able to chase off the attacking deer. Rangers quickly controlled her profuse bleeding and stabilized her; she was then taken by ambulance to a hospital and went into surgery.

Investigation revealed this deer was likely protecting its newborn fawn from visitors with dogs. Multiple minor incidents involving visitors with dogs preceded the attack on the woman and her dog in the campground.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers subsequently shot the deer after it charged two CPW officers who had a leashed dog with them. The woman is expected to make a full recovery.

Climbing – 

Grand Teton National Park (WY)
Climber Seriously Injured In Rockfall

A large boulder struck and seriously injured a climber during a rockfall yesterday morning. Michael Polmear, 27, of Bethesda, Maryland, was ascending the Middle Teton near its black dike feature when a boulder—described by his wife, Stephanie, as “the size of five to six microwave ovens”—suddenly rolled down slope toward Polmear and hit his left arm, causing severe injuries.

A former park employee, who happened to be nearby, reported hearing the rockfall and a subsequent call for help at approximately 8:30 a.m. He immediately made his way to the rockfall site and began to help Stephanie Polmear stabilize her husband’s injured arm. He placed an emergency call to Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 9:00 a.m. that activated a rescue response by park rangers with aerial support from a Teton Interagency contract helicopter. At the request of Grand Teton’s rescue coordinator, this first responder moved Polmear roughly 200 feet away from the accident site because of concern for additional rockfall activity.

Stephanie Polmear reported that she was belaying her husband up the initial pitch of the Black Dike route on the Middle Teton and that he was approximately 30 to 35 meters above her when the boulder came crashing down the slope without warning. Fortunately, Stephanie was not hit by any of the debris. Although severely injured, Michael used his non-injured arm to create an anchor and his wife was able to lower him by rope to her location.

Three park rangers were flown to a provisional helispot near the Cave Couloir at the base of the Middle Teton (approximately 600 linear feet and 300 vertical feet from Polmear) at 10:00 a.m. They provided emergency medical care, stabilized Polmear’s injured arm and helped him traverse the distance to the waiting helicopter. Polmear, accompanied by one attending ranger, was flown to the Jenny Lake Rescue Cache at Lupine Meadows, where he was then transferred to a park ambulance and transported to St. John’s Medical Center. Once the helicopter cleared the mountain helispot, the other two rangers ascended from the accident site to the Lower Saddle of the Grand Teton to begin a scheduled backcountry patrol.

The cause of the sudden rockfall is undetermined. However, recent thunderstorms and a sequence of mountain showers may have loosened the boulder and nearby soils. It appears that Polmear was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when this natural event took place.

Cave rescued launched –

Recovery of canyoneer –

Fatal rapelling incident –

Vehicles – 

 Craters Of The Moon National Monument & Preserve (ID)
Pilot Killed In Plane Crash In Park

On the evening of July 2nd, the National Park Service was informed of a missing plane with a last known location over Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.

The Civil Air Patrol searched the last known area until dark and then resumed searching on the following day. They soon reported possible wreckage in the Laidlaw Park area of the park. A ranger was given the latitude and longitude and traveled to the area by vehicle, then was directed to the location by a circling Civil Air Patrol plane.  The ranger confirmed the wreckage and one fatality.

The Blaine County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Aviation Administration are leading the investigation.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (PA)
Driver Killed By Falling Tree

Manual L. Loureiro, 31, of Bushkill, Pennsylvania, was fatally injured in a one car motor vehicle accident on Route 209 just south of the Bushkill Meeting Center around 6 a.m. yesterday.  Loureiro was traveling southbound on Route 209 when his vehicle was struck by a falling tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the Monroe County coroner.

Bushkill Fire Department responded to the scene within minutes, with Bushkill Ambulance, Pennsylvania State Police, and National Park Service rangers also responding.  Route 209 was closed for several hours, but has since reopened.

Man and dog rescued from sea –

Interested in learning skills to handle emergencies like the ones you read in Survival Weekly?  Check out BigPig Outdoors Survival 101 class  –



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