Survival Weekly – 9/1/15…



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 – 

Whistles save lives!! 9 day ordeal over –

An underestimated threat in the woods –

News – 

Obama joins the survival reality show ranks –

BUSAR, a personal project fulfilled, conducts interagency training –

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Water Safety – 

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (AZ,UT)
Two Rescued Woman Charged With Assault On Rescuing Rangers

On August 4th, Ryann Shelly Holmes of Kayenta, Arizona, pled guilty to a Class A misdemeanor count of assaulting/resisting federal law enforcement officers during the commission of their duties.

The charge stemmed from an incident that had occurred on June 28th. Rangers had received a call of two intoxicated women, one of whom was having difficulty in the water while swimming dangerously close to the main channel of Lake Powell off the shore of Antelope Point.

The rangers rescued Mary Ann Gray, of Phoenix, Arizona, when it became apparent she was in danger of drowning.  Once she was pulled to shore, Gray became combative with the rangers. Holmes then interfered by pushing and hitting the rangers while they were attempting to place Gray under arrest.

Holmes was sentenced to ten days in jail, will be on probation for one year, and is banned from the park during that time. Gray is scheduled to appear in court later in August.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (PA)
Park SAR Team Joins In Rescue Of Seriously Injured Man

On the evening of August 17th, park dispatch received a request for assistance from the New Jersey State Park Police. They needed help from the park’s SAR team in carrying out a 19-year-old New Jersey man who’d been seriously injured in a fall of from a tree near Sunfish Pond. He’d climbed the tree in order to take a picture.

When members of the SAR team and on-duty personnel arrived at Worthington State Forest, they learned that county paramedics and an officer were on scene with the man, that he’d suffered from a head injury and a possible fractured leg, and that he was in stable condition. The nine-person carryout team headed to his location, arriving around 1:30 a.m.

Once team members were on scene and could speak directly with the paramedics they determined that the man most likely had a fractured pelvis and that moving him by hand to a location that he could be transferred to a ground ambulance would cause him extreme pain. The decision was made to request a helicopter evacuation.

The New Jersey State Police Aviation Unit, which the team regularly trains with, was contacted but was unavailable to assist. The United States Coast Guard out of Sandy Hook, New Jersey, was then contacted and agreed to respond and attempt the evacuation, but their estimated time of arrival was between 5:30 and 6 a.m. The decision was made to go with the helicopter evacuation using the USCG helicopter. The team remained in place to assist with patient care and in case the helicopter evacuation turned out not to be possible.

The Coast Guard helicopter arrived in the area at approximately 5:40 a.m. The helicopter crew did a reconnaissance of the area and then lowered a rescue technician to the ground via its hoist. The injured man was then raised via the hoist to the helicopter and evacuated by air.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (PA)
Body Of Missing Swimmer Found By NPS Dive Team

Park rangers recovered the body of Darius L. Vinson of Far Rockaway, New York, from the Delaware River just north of the I-80 toll bridge on the afternoon of Wednesday, August 19th.

Vinson, 26, was swimming with a friend near the Karamac Parking Area around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon when he began to struggle in the current and went under. His friend attempted to rescue him, but he too was caught in the strong current and began to struggle before being rescued by passing kayakers.  Neither man was wearing a life jacket.

Rangers began searching the area almost immediately on foot and in boats with assistance from Shawnee, Delaware Water Gap, and Portland Volunteer Fire Departments and Bushkill and Suburban EMS crews.  The NPS dive team searched underwater for approximately two hours before suspending the search due to darkness.

Divers resumed operations on Wednesday morning.  Vinson’s body was recovered in 10 feet of water approximately 800 yards downstream from where he’s entered the water.

Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River (NY,PA)
New York Man Drowns In Delaware River

A 48-year-old man from Flushing, New York, was swimming off Ascalona Campground in the Delaware River on the afternoon of August 14th when he began having trouble in the middle of the river.  Several visitors in kayaks also noticed the swimmer was having difficulty and told people on shore to call 911.

The kayakers saw him go underwater for 30 to 45 seconds and recovered the unconscious man. Family members and friends began CPR.  Rangers’ Kevin Reish and Larry Neal were responding to a disturbance call, noticed the incident, and joined in the response.

The man was taken by American Legion ambulance to Bon Secours Hospital in Port Jervis. He was later flown to Westchester Medical Center, where he subsequently died.

Divers rescued –

Missing kayaker –

Hiking – 

Adirondack SAR highlights –

Teen helps rescue father –

10 year old boy rescued –

Drunk rescued –

Lost & Injured hikers rescued –



Hunter-gatherer – 

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area (MT,WY)
Fisherman’s Life Saved With AED

Ranger Jordan Sjogren was called out early on the morning of August 20th to respond to a report of an elderly male who had collapsed from an apparent heart attack while fishing in the Bighorn River. CPR was reportedly in progress.

Upon arrival, Sjogren attached the AED to the patient while a Bighorn County deputy and other civilian responders continued CPR. The AED called for a total of three shocks and CPR was continued. After the third shock, the man regained a pulse.

St. Vincent’s Help Flight arrived on scene and assumed care of the patient. He was flown to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Billings, Montana, and is currently in the intensive care unit.

Search for missing fisherman –

Missing fisherman rescued –

Climbing – 

Grand Teton National Park (WY)
Ten Climbers Rescued From Stettner Couloir

During the early morning hours of Sunday, August 16th, rangers began a multi-phased rescue mission for ten climbers in two separate parties who became stranded together in the Stettner Couloir late the previous evening while descending from the Petzoldt Ridge on the Grand Teton.

The initial call for help set in motion a search and rescue operation that did not end until four of the climbers were finally evacuated from the Lower Saddle of the Grand by helicopter late Sunday afternoon. Although none of the ten climbers sustained injuries during their mountain mishap, several did suffer from exposure to the extremely wet and cold conditions that they experienced during their hours-long descent of the Stettner Couloir.

The two climbing parties (one with six members and the other with four) were attempting to summit the Grand Teton in a single day, rather than making a two-day climb with an overnight in Garnet Canyon.

The two parties met up during their respective descents off the Petzoldt Ridge, and both groups made an ill-fated decision to rappel down Chevy Couloir and into the Stettner Couloir to reach the Lower Saddle at the end of their day-long climbing adventure. With little understanding of summertime conditions typically found in the Stettner Couloir, including the icy water that drains into the couloir, this decision proved to be problematic and ultimately placed the climbers in jeopardy of incurring serious injury.

At first light on Sunday, two rangers headed out on foot from the Lower Saddle’s rescue hut to climb to the scene, assess the situation, and ideally arrange for an evacuation by the Teton Interagency contract helicopter. Because high winds prevented use of the ship, three additional rangers hiked from the Lupine Meadows trailhead to reach the rescue staging area on the Lower Saddle and prepare for a ground rescue. Once the high winds subsided, three additional rangers were flown to a backcountry landing zone located on the Lower Saddle, and they also joined in the rescue operation.

Rangers also enlisted the help of four guides from Exum Mountain Guides, and two private climbers, who happened to be in the vicinity. The two private climbers accompanied one ranger to the rescue site, and the Exum guides helped the group across the Black Dike traverse after they were free of the couloir.

Rangers provided food and hot drinks to the climbers and assessed their physical condition to determine who might need aerial evacuation. Four of the ten climbers were evacuated via helicopter at 3:00 p.m. and delivered to the Jenny Lake Rescue Cache on the valley floor. The remaining six climbers hiked out of the mountains on their own.

Grand Teton National Park (WY)
Two Climbers Suffer Fatal Fall On Teewinot Mountain

Jenny Lake rangers, a Teton interagency contract helicopter, and emergency medical personnel swung into action just after 11:00 a.m. yesterday to assist two separate parties. The first and more serious accident involved a party of three climbers attempting to reach the summit of Teewinot Mountain. Two of the climbers suffered a fatal fall of approximately 200 feet. The two climbers were Tyler Strandberg, 27, originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, and Catherine Nix, 28, originally from Port Chester, New York. Both women were residents of Jackson, Wyoming.

At approximately 11:15 a.m. Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a cell phone call for assistance via 911 from Rebecca Anderson, 26, also of Jackson, Wyoming. Anderson reported that the two other members of her climbing party, Strandberg and Nix, had fallen and were now out of sight. She made repeated attempts to yell down to her companions, but received no reply. Anderson was stuck on a small ledge and could not move to see her companions.

Upon receiving the call, rangers quickly developed a plan to reach the three climbers. Three rangers were inserted via short-haul to Strandberg and Nix’s location, a rocky ledge at an elevation of about 11,500 feet located just above the “Worshipper” and “Idol” rock towers. On arrival, the rangers assessed the condition of Strandberg and Nix, who were both unresponsive after taking an apparent fall of 200 feet. They were pronounced dead at the scene by the rangers in consultation with the park medical director.

The rangers then turned their attention to Anderson, who was stranded above the scene. Two rangers climbed steep and technical terrain for about an hour to reach Anderson, who was uninjured, and prepared her for an evacuation. She was short-hauled with an attending ranger to the Lupine Meadows Rescue Cache at 4:19 p.m. The remaining ranger then rappelled back down to Strandberg and Nix’s location.

The rangers prepared the deceased for evacuation as a second call for assistance came in. Doug Lawton, 45, of Alpine, Wyoming, was hiking on his own in Avalanche Canyon just above Lake Taminah when he accidentally pulled a “suitcase-sized” rock down on himself, injuring his leg. He was able to move a few hundred feet to a more level location, where the helicopter landed and evacuated Lawton to the Lupine Meadows Rescue Cache at 5:16 p.m. He was transported by ambulance to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson, Wyoming.

The helicopter returned to Teewinot Mountain to fly the deceased to the rescue cache via long-line, where they were transferred to the Teton County coroner. The two remaining rangers were then flown back to the rescue cache via short-haul.

The three women were attempting to ascend the East Face of Teewinot Mountain. The East Face is the typical route to the summit of Teewinot and also the easiest. It is rated a class 4.0 climb, meaning that it consists of exposed rock climbing but is not considered technical in nature. Though the route is frequently climbed without ropes, the terrain is very steep and good route-finding skills, mountaineering experience, and caution are essential. The climbers were well off the East Face route and in much more difficult technical terrain when the fall occurred. They were not using ropes at the time of the fall and were apparently trying to find the proper route.

Woan and dogs rescued off cliff –

Vehicles – 

 Dirt bike rider rescued –

Mountain biker rescued –

Couple survives plane crash –

ATV rider rescued –

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



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