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
Teen hikes out of wilderness after plane crash – http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/15/us/washington-plane-crash-girl/
Robots for maritime SAR – http://www.marinelink.com/news/maritime-robots-search394711.aspx
Water Safety –
Swimmer rescue or recovery –
New River Gorge National River (WV)
Stranded Visitors Rescued From Rimrocked Terrain
Four park visitors from Charleston West Virginia, headed down McKendree Road looking for a local swimming hole, faithfully following their GPS unit. McKendree Road is a state road that accesses remote and seldom visited areas of the park. The park has signed it as “rough road, 4×4 recommended.” They drove on McKendree Road, in their sedan, until they came upon a fallen tree completely blocking the road. They were only 1.8 miles from their destination according to the GPS.
Still trusting the GPS unit that had taken them down McKendree Road in the first place, they decided to walk to the swimming hole. The group walked until reaching Dowdy Creek. They could see the river and decided to walk down the hill towards river not knowing that they were entering some of the steepest and most heinous terrain in the park. On the way down, the terrain became almost vertical. Two members of the group, who had dropped lower on the hill than the others, discovered that they could not climb back up or go down any further. They began to call for help, calls which were overheard by NERI river patrol rangers.
River Ranger Matt McQueen was able to get to the rimrocked visitors and vector in responding units. Ranger Nate Freier set up a low angle belay to assist the stranded visitors back up through the steep terrain. Supported by ten NPS SAR team members, and a WV Department of Natural Resources officer, they made it up the hillside. The group of four was examined for injuries, and reunited near their car. Rangers assisted them in extricating the vehicle from the rough road.
Badlands National Park (SD)
Hiker Rescued After 125 Foot Fall
The Badlands search and rescue team responded to a mutual aid request by the Oglala Sioux Tribe mid-day on July 11th to assist with an injured hiker.
The 26-year old man had been hiking with three others and fell approximately 125 feet into a rugged canyon on Sheep Mountain Table, later determined to be on the boundary of Badlands National Park and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
SAR team members Tyson Nehrin and Ryan Frum repelled down and conducted the initial patient assessment, noting significant trauma to the patient’s head and an altered level of consciousness. A paramedic from Black Hills Life Flight also repelled down and provided advanced life support.
Ranger Danny Baker, incident commander, requested a Black Hawk medivac through the South Dakota National Guard to conduct a hoist operation. The visitor was successfully lifted into the Black Hawk along with the flight medic and transported to Rapid City Regional Hospital.
Responding agencies included the Oglala Sioux Tribal Police Department, Badlands SAR, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, Interior Volunteer Fire Department, Pennington County SAR, Rapid Valley Fire Department, South Dakota National Guard and Black Hills Life Flight.
Grand Teton National Park (WY)
Three Missing Sisters Found After Multi-Day Search
A large-scale, multi-day search for three missing sisters began on Tuesday, July 7th, after the girls’ mother notified Grand Teton National Park that they were overdue from a backpacking trip in the Teton area. Concern for their welfare mounted after they failed to meet their mother for a planned rendezvous in Chicago before a flight to Switzerland.
Rangers initially combed parking lots, trailheads and developed areas in the park to locate the vehicle in which they were traveling, but failed to find their SUV. On Wednesday, July 8th, the search expanded beyond Grand Teton, and the Teton County sheriff took over as the SAR incident commander after the girls’ SUV turned up at a trailhead on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, about 30 miles south of Jackson, Wyoming.
A total of 43 Grand Teton National Park personnel, along with a Teton Interagency contract helicopter, joined additional Teton County and Bridger-Teton National Forest searchers during the extensive search effort that lasted all day Wednesday and well into Thursday morning. Search personnel consisted of ground crews, dog teams, riders on horseback, and the interagency helicopter. Crews focused on nine search areas south-southeast of the Jackson area in the Gros Ventre Wilderness of Bridger-Teton National Forest.
The search for three missing sisters culminated when they were found at 10 a.m. on July 9th after a helpful tip from an area outfitter redirected the search effort. Megan Andrews-Sharer, 25, and her sisters Erin, 22, and Kelsi, 16, were spotted by searchers during a reconnaissance flight over a remote area in upper Horse Creek drainage, approximately seven miles west of where their vehicle was found on July 8th at the Swift Creek trailhead.
The hikers were cold, wet, and hungry but otherwise healthy, having spent several rainy and chilly nights in the backcountry. The girls left with appropriate clothing, a tent, sleeping bags, a water purifier, and other equipment for their multi-day trip, and these provisions allowed them to survive their unexpected situation. By staying together, using their tent, and rationing their food, they were able to wait for help to arrive. Shortly after they were spotted, the girls were flown to the Swift Creek trailhead and reunited with their father.
Searchers later learned that the three girls lost the trail on July 4th and decided to stick together and stay put in an effort to be more easily found and to not get into further trouble. This decision greatly increased their odds of being found. Their one significant mistake was not telling anyone what trailhead they were leaving from and their intended route. Finding the SUV at the trailhead proved to be helpful because it reduced the search area from the 3.7 million acres and every highway between Jackson, Wyoming and Chicago, Illinois, to a search area of roughly 100 square miles.
The Andrews family gave a final press conference on July 10th in Jackson, which was well attended as this incident attracted both local and national media attention. The girls’ father wanted an opportunity to meet the agencies involved in the search and to thank them in front of the media. He specifically and favorably noted the support and substantial participation by NPS staff during the press conference.
This incident served as another great example of interagency cooperation among Grand Teton National Park, the Investigative Services Branch, the National Elk Refuge, Bridger Teton National Forest and the Teton County Sheriff’s office.
Missing toddler SAR suspended- http://www.kpax.com/story/29530595/grandma-of-missing-2-year-old-he-just-vanished
SAR suspended in Big Sur – http://www.ksbw.com/news/big-sur-hiker-missing-5-days/34142814
Lightning strikes hikers – http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/2-struck-by-lightning-on-14er-in-chaffee-county
Lost & Injured hikers rescued –
Fishermen rescued off coast – http://www.cp24.com/news/three-canadian-fishermen-rescued-off-massachusetts-coast-1.2479081
Zion National Park (UT)
Canyoneer Dies Following Heaps Canyon Fall
Zion National Park was alerted to an injured canyoneer in Heaps Canyon mid-day on Saturday, July 12th. The 24-year-old Las Vegas man had apparently taken a 100-200 foot un-roped fall into a side canyon at approximately 7 p.m. the previous day. Three companions descended to him; one stayed with the injured man while the other two members of the party continued on through Heaps Canyon to get help.
Heaps Canyon is a strenuous, challenging technical canyon with an approximate 3000-foot descent. It usually takes 12 to 20 hours to complete, consists of a number of rappels into cold water, and ends with a final 280-foot rappel to the Upper Emerald Pool area.
Rescue efforts started early Sunday. With assistance from Grand Canyon National Park, a short-haul helicopter was sent to assist. Two Zion search and rescue team members were short-hauled into the canyon above. When they rappelled down they found the man deceased.
Small plane crash in SE Alaska – http://www.ktva.com/5-involved-in-southeast-alaska-plane-crash-out-of-juneau-950/
Interested in learning skills to handle emergencies like the ones you read in Survival Weekly? Check out BigPig Outdoors Survival 101 class – http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/survival-101-1.htm