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
Pilot stranded on ice floe – http://www.lfpress.com/2015/07/27/missing-helicopter-pilot-found-alive-and-well-on-ice-floe-military
Hiker with HAPE rescued – http://www.skyhidailynews.com/news/17480079-113/grand-county-search-and-rescue-saves-man-at
Search for missing teen boaters – http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2015/7/29/boat_of_missing_teen.html
Sattelite messengers in Smokies – http://www.wbir.com/story/news/2015/07/28/smokies-search-rescue-satellite-technology/30807611/
Inside Coast Guard rescues – http://counton2.com/2015/07/28/a-closer-look-at-coast-guard-search-and-rescue/
Water Safety –
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (AZ,UT)
Child’s Life Saved Through Prompt EMS Response
On the morning of July 25th, park dispatch received a report of a three year-old found face down in approximately seven feet of water at the rear of a houseboat in Halls Creek Bay. The reporting party said that the child might have been in the water from five to ten minutes and was not breathing or conscious. The three-year-old was not wearing a life jacket on the houseboat when the incident occurred.
Responding rangers were on scene within 20 minutes and found that CPR was already in progress. Rangers took over patient care and transported the child to Bullfrog Marina to meet a park medic to receive advanced life support care. After initial ALS care, the child started to improve. The three-year-old was flown by Classic Lifeguard to a hospital and has since been released.
The extended CPR (over 45 minutes), breathing therapy, and advanced life support measures that were performed by park rangers along with Classic Lifeguard personnel saved the child’s life.
NPS responders included Jesse Benskin, Karol Jones, Noel Rupel, Sean McCaffrey, Valerie Reynolds and Zach Nelson.
Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River (NY,PA)
Man Rescued From Near Drowning
A 55-year-old man from Allentown, Pennsylvania, nearly drowned when his canoe capsized in Butler’s Rift on the afternoon of July 20th.
Two men were on a river cleanup when they saw a canoe capsize in Butler’s Rift. They quickly paddled over in a canoe to assist the man and his son. The man went unconscious and was under water. The two men helped pull the body out of the water and onto the New York shoreline. Additional family members and the two men on river cleanup performed CPR on the man for approximately five to eight minutes.
The man regained consciousness and was transported down river in a raft. The Sparrowbush Fire Department’s boat met the raft by Cherry Island and transported the man to the awaiting Port Jervis ambulance. He was not wearing a life jacket.
Buffalo National River – AR
Two Drown In Separate Incidents In Park
On the afternoon of July 12, 2015 Buffalo National River was contacted by Newton County 911 concerning a possible drowning at the confluence of Well’s Creek and Buffalo River. Rescue and medical personnel were dispatch to the area where they located the victim, Gary McClung III age 23. Mr. McClung and his wife had been swimming in the area when he decided to jump from a 15 foot bluff into the river. Mr. McClung’s wife heard her husband enter the water but did not see him jump as she was traversing the trail from the bluff to the gravel bar. She lost sight of Mr. McClung for a very short period of time but when she saw him again he was floating downstream face down.
She was able to wade into the water and pull him to shore where she began doing CPR. Very soon after she had begun, floaters rounded the bend, recognized the distress and quickly came to her aid. CPR was continued for some time but was unsuccessful and Mr. McClung was later pronounced dead at the scene. First on scene was Air Evac helicopter which was able to land on the gravel bar. At this time CPR had been suspended after approximately 30 minutes of continuous cycles which were unsuccessful.
Gary McClung III was a member of the Western Grove Volunteer Fire Department and leaves behind a wife and baby.
Personnel from Buffalo National River Search and Rescue team, Newton County Sheriff’s Office, Hasty Volunteer Fire Department, Tri-County Search and Rescue, North Arkansas Regional Medical Center EMS, Air Evac Lifeteam, Newton County Coroner’s Office and the Boone County Coroner’s Office assisted.
On the afternoon of July 20, 2015, Searcy County Sheriff’s Office contacted the park concerning a possible drowning of a five year old boy at Tyler Bend. Witnesses reported the child had on an inflatable float ring and was wading in a shallow portion of the river when he went under. The boy’s older brother alerted his father to the missing boy, who had stepped into a deep hole and slipped out of the float ring. The father was able to locate his son and bring him to shore.
Park Guide Terry Traywick, who is trained in CPR and is a CPR instructor, and Interpretive Ranger Joyce Umbach, responded to the location and found park visitors administering CPR. Terry immediately began assisting with the CPR and coaching the visitors. Off duty Emergency Dispatcher Joe Jones and his spouse were floating the river and came upon the scene and immediately began assisting with CPR. Resuscitation efforts were continued by park personnel until the NorthArk Ambulance arrived. All attempts to revive the boy failed.
Personnel from the Searcy County Sheriff’s Office, Park personnel, to include a campground volunteer, park visitors and NorthArk Ambulance Service assisted.
Missouri National Recreational River (SD)
One Dead, Two Seriously Injured Following Fall From Cliff
A Nebraska woman drowned in the Missouri River near Running Water, South Dakota, after falling off a cliff on July 18th. Two others were hospitalized in serious condition after attempting to rescue her.
Responding agencies to the accident included the Bon Homme County Sheriff’s Office, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, the Santee Sioux Tribal Police, Yankton Search and Rescue, South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks, and Springfield police and emergency crews.
The Bon Homme sheriff reported that a group of four accessed a cliff area adjacent to a popular scenic lookout near the Chief Standing Bear Bridge approximately 60 feet above the Missouri River, and that alcohol was a factor in the accident. No foul play is suspected.
The accident occurred just before the beginning of the annual Blue Moon Resort poker run, where NPS rangers were conducting a joint saturation patrol with South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks, and Nebraska Game and Parks officers, focusing on boating safety and BUI detection.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area – NV, AZ
Rangers Save Couple On Lake Mohave
A husband and wife in their 70s were out on a small bass fishing boat all day on July 8th and returning from the Cottonwood area in the evening when the husband, who was operating the boat, began having difficulty seeing in the fading light. He decided to try to put ashore for the night at Chili Pepper Cove on Lake Mohave.
When he got out of the boat, he inadvertently knocked it away and out of his reach. His wife tried to throw him a line without success. The wind, blowing at 15 to 25 knots all day, immediately took her away from her spouse, who attempted to swim back to the boat. The wife threw him a PFD, which she said hit the water, though she was unsure if her husband was able to retrieve it.
The wife was located a couple of hours later about two miles northwest of where she last saw her husband. Nearly inconsolable, she was not wearing a PFD and the only PFD on board was of questionable service.
A search was started for the husband with the wife aboard the ranger boat in the area she seemed to recognize. The husband was found on the shore in the cove, yelling for assistance. He was wet, cold and stated that he was planning on making a shelter for the night and waiting until the morning to flag down help. The PFD that was thrown to him by his wife was in the same poor condition as the one found aboard their boat. At the request of rangers the couple voluntarily surrendered their old PFD’s for new ones supplied through the “Ready, Set, Wear It” program.
Once back at the dock, the husband declined further medical assessment, while his wife was overcome by the emotions of the event and nearly fainted. He said that he had Type IV PFDs (throwable), flares, and a marine band radio on board, none of which were known to the wife. Nor did she know how to use them.
Rangers suggest that a safety briefing is given to all occupants of a vessel by the operator prior to departing on the water. This briefing should include how to locate and use all safety equipment aboard the boat. Rangers also remind visitors not to jump from moving vessels or in windy conditions that will not permit them to stay with their boat, and to wear their lifejackets while on the water.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (PA)
Cliff Jumper Seriously Injured At Adams Creek
Rangers and local emergency personnel responded to a report of a seriously injured person at the main waterfall on Adams Creek around 5 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. This was the fifth time since April that rangers have responded to rescue calls at Adams Creek.
A 27-year-old man from Milford, Pennsylvania, sustained serious injuries after jumping from a 45-foot cliff into the pool at the base of the falls. Rangers were on patrol on the trail to the falls when the call came in through the NPS communications center and were able to get to the man quickly and begin treatment.
The rugged, mile-and-a-half long trail includes four creek crossings and one area where the injured man had to be raised and lowered over steep cliffs. It took park rangers and rescue personnel from Delaware Township Ambulance Corp three hours to carry him from the falls to the road, where an ambulance awaited. He was then transported by Delaware Township Ambulance Corp to a landing zone in Dingmans Ferry and flown to Morristown Hospital.
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (PA)
Man Drowns In Delaware River
Jason Daniel Moser, 41, of Myerstown, Pennsylvania, drowned while attempting to swim across the Delaware River on the afternoon of July 18th.
Members of the park’s dive team recovered Moser’s body in ten feet of water later in the day near an area known as Shad Rocks, located between Bushkill Access and Smithfield Beach. He was not wearing a life jacket.
Rocky Mountain National Park (CO)
Searchers Find Two Missing Hikers
A search for two missing women came to a successful conclusion last Thursday morning when searchers found them off trail above Hague Creek and below Mummy Pass in the northwest portion of the park.
On Tuesday, July 21st, a group of five family members and friends hiked to Mirror Lake. While they were hiking back, Christine Everett, 51, and Danielle Hohly, 26, became separated from the group. They were last seen at 2:30 p.m. just below Mirror Lake, which is approximately six miles from the Corral Creek Trailhead.
When the women failed to appear at the trailhead, one of the members of the party went back up the trail and searched for them until dark. At roughly 8:15 p.m. they called for assistance. This is in a remote area with no cell service and limited radio communication. The call went to Larimer County Search and Rescue, whose members responded to the area later that night. They searched the general area and determined that the point last seen was inside Rocky Mountain National Park, so contacted rangers on Wednesday morning. A joint search was begun.
When the women were found, they were cold and hungry but in good condition. The two women were flown by helicopter to the east side of the park, where they were reunited with family members.
Yellowstone National Park (ID,MT,WY)
Search Underway For Missing Swimmer
A search is underway for Feiyang “Isaac” Xiang, a 21-year old man from China. Xiang is a seasonal concessioner employee in the park and was backpacking with four friends last Thursday when he disappeared while swimming in the Yellowstone River near its confluence with Hellroaring Creek in the northern section of the park.
Xiang was in the water with two of his companions around 11:45 am when he was pulled away from the shore by the current of the swiftly flowing river. Xiang was struggling to stay afloat as unsuccessful efforts were made to pull him back to shore. He was swept downriver into a long stretch of rapids before he disappeared from view. A member of the party placed a 911 call to park dispatch at 12:39 pm.
Rangers immediately began responding on horseback and on foot. Responders reached the river and met with the reporting party at 2:44 pm. Initial search efforts Thursday afternoon did not turn up any sign of Xiang, who is described as 5 feet 6 inches tall, 140 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.
Search efforts were increased on Friday; a helicopter, two dog teams, and 20 Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park employees actively searched for him in the Yellowstone River corridor.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Feiyang “Isaac” Xiang is asked to call Yellowstone National Park at 307-344-2643.
Rocky Mountain National Park (CO)
Two Injured Hikers Rescued In Separate Incidents
On the evening of July 19th, park rangers were notified via cell phone that a 13-year-old girl from Estes Park had suffered a leg injury roughly a half mile northwest of The Pool in rugged Forest Canyon.
Park search and rescue team members reached her and her father between 1:30 and 2:00 a.m. the following morning. It was difficult to find the girl in the steep, rugged, off trail terrain. The area had also been impacted by the Fern Lake Fire, which posed additional challenges for rescuers traversing the area after dark.
A technical raise was used to bring the girl roughly 150 to 200 feet up and over a rock cliff to a flat bench area where a landing zone had been constructed. She was flown from the area to the Upper Beaver Meadows helispot at 4:30 p.m., then taken by ambulance to Estes Park Medical Center.
Park search and rescue team members were assisted by the Northern Colorado Interagency Helitack Crew. Over 30 park personnel were involved in this incident, as well as one member of the Alpine Rescue Group.
As park rescue personnel were finishing the Forest Canyon rescue, they were notified by cell phone of a 43-year-old woman with a leg injury near Emerald Lake. Park search and rescue personnel reached her at 7:45 p.m. A team carried her out on a wheeled litter.
United States Park Police
Seriously Injured Teen Medevaced By Eagle One
On the evening of July 16th, Montgomery County Fire contacted Park Police Aviation and asked for a medevac of an injured 19-year-old man from a spot along the Potomac River. EMS personnel had categorized him as a Category A due to a possible spine injury incurred in a ten-foot fall.
Eagle One Pilot Ryan Evasick was able to lift off and land at the expedient landing zone, a gravel bar in the river, prior to the arrival of a rescue boat. The injured man was quickly loaded onto the helicopter and flown to Suburban Hospital for care.
Badlands National Park (SD)
Search For Missing Nebraska Man Yields Few Clues
Rangers received a report on Thursday, July 16th of a missing person who was believed to be hiking in Badlands National Park. Joshua Jacobsen, a 39-year-old man from Laurel, Nebraska had texted a photo of Badlands to his ex-wife four days earlier. This was the last communication the family received.
On Friday rangers discovered Jacobsen’s 2008 silver Dodge pickup parked at Sage Creek Campground. An interagency SAR operation was initiated to search areas of the 64,000 acre Sage Creek Wilderness using a South Dakota National Guard helicopter, dogs, horses, and roughly 40 search personnel. The operation was scaled back on Sunday, July 19th, after extensive searching resulted in no contact with Jacobsen or any physical evidence associated with him. Rangers continue investigations, working in cooperation with the Pennington County Sheriff’s Department.
Lost & Injured hikers rescued –
Yellowstone National Park (ID,MT,WY)
Woman Injured In Encounter With Bison
A 43-year-old woman from Mississippi received minor injuries Tuesday when she turned her back on a bison to get a photo with it near the Fairy Falls trailhead. She was the fifth person injured after approaching bison this season.
The woman and her daughter were by the trailhead sign when they decided to take a picture with a bison that was approximately six yards away from them near the trail. When they turned their backs to the bison to take the picture, someone warned that they were too close. They heard the bison’s footsteps moving toward them and started to run, but the bison caught the mother on the right side, lifted her up and tossed her with its head. The woman’s father covered her with his body to protect her and the bison moved about three yards away. The family drove to the Old Faithful Clinic, where the woman was treated and released with minor injuries.
“The family said they read the warnings in both the park literature and the signage, but saw other people close to the bison, so they thought it would be OK,” said Old Faithful District Ranger Colleen Rawlings. “People need to recognize that Yellowstone wildlife is wild, even though they seem docile. This woman was lucky that her injuries were not more severe.”
The park has again reminded visitors that wildlife should not be approached, regardless of how tame or calm they appear. When an animal is near a trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, visitors must give it a wide berth and not approach it closer than the required minimum distances – 25 yards away from all large animals (bison, elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, and coyotes) and at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves.
Bison can run three times faster than humans can sprint and are unpredictable and dangerous. Visitors are advised to give the animals enough space and alter their plans to avoid interacting with an animal in close proximity.
Grand Teton National Park (WY)
Two Climbers Injured In Sliding Fall On Middle Teton
On Saturday, July 25th, two climbers fell and slid on a patch of snow while descending from the Dike Pinnacle on the south face of the Middle Teton. The climbers, Jordan Lister and Carrie Schwartz, both 25 and residents of Jackson, Wyoming, slid approximately 200 feet on snow and rocky terrain before coming to a stop on a grassy ledge. Lister sustained serious injuries requiring an evacuation by helicopter while Schwartz sustained minor injuries.
Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a call for assistance at 5:22 p.m. from Schwartz. Park rangers quickly responded from the Jenny Lake Rescue Cache at Lupine Meadows. They were joined by the Teton Interagency contract helicopter, which had been assisting with an extensive search for a missing person near Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park.
The helicopter was able to land relatively near to the grassy ledge and insert three park rangers, who made a short climb to reach the injured climbers. Rangers provided medical care while preparations were made for an expeditious short-haul evacuation of Lister.
Lister and an attending park ranger were short-hauled from the grassy ledge directly to the rescue cache on the valley floor just before sunset. There, Lister was transferred to a waiting park ambulance and transported to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson, Wyoming. The helicopter then returned to the site of the accident and short-hauled Schwartz and the two remaining rangers to the rescue cache. The rescue mission was completed shortly after 9:00 p.m., just before darkness would have made further operations impossible.
The fall occurred while the two climbers were descending on snow about 400 feet below the summit of the Dike Pinnacle. This type of fall—one that occurs while descending on snow—is a very common cause of mountaineering-related injuries in Grand Teton National Park. Rangers encourage climbers to pay special attention while descending on snow, and to wear helmets whenever moving about in the vertical terrain of the Teton Range where rockfalls, or a slip and fall in rock-strewn areas, can pose a danger.
This rescue was the second helicopter-assisted rescue mission of the day in the park. Rangers also flew a climber who had become ill from the Lower Saddle of the Grand Teton around 7:30 on Saturday morning.
After completing this rescue, the Teton Interagency contract helicopter flew to Yellowstone to assist with the continuing search efforts for the missing person.
Grand Teton National Park (WY)
Climber Injured By Dislodged Boulder
On Tuesday, July 21st, a large boulder dislodged and rolled over the arm of a hiker/climber, causing severe injury to his limb and prompting a helicopter-assisted rescue by Grand Teton National Park rangers.
Tucker Zibilich, 26, of Jackson, Wyoming and his partner were on their descent after making a day trek to the Upper Saddle of the Grand Teton when he was injured by the boulder.
Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received an emergency call for help at 12:40 p.m. from Zibilich’s partner and several other climbers, and park rangers immediately initiated a rescue operation. A backcountry ranger and a retired Jenny Lake Subdistrict ranger happened to be approaching the base of the headwall, just below the Lower Saddle of the Grand Teton, when the call came in. They promptly advanced to the Lower Saddle, picked up essential gear at the park’s backcountry rescue cache, and ascended another 1,200+ feet to the accident site. They reached Zibilich at 2:15 p.m., assessed his condition, and provided emergency medical care until additional park rangers could arrive.
Due to nature of Zibilich’s injury and concern about attempting to hike him downslope over steep and rocky terrain to reach the Grand Teton’s broad and somewhat flat Lower Saddle for an aerial evacuation, a decision was made to use the Teton Interagency contract helicopter to instead short-haul Zibilich directly from his high elevation site on the Grand Teton to the Jenny Lake Rescue Cache on the valley floor.
To prepare Zibilich for the short-haul flight, one additional park ranger was flown to the Lower Saddle. Carrying additional emergency medical gear and a short-haul evacuation suit, the ranger hiked upslope to reach the accident site—a distance of nearly one mile and 1,200 vertical feet of steep terrain.
After he was placed into the evacuation suit and tethered to a short-haul line attached to the belly of the helicopter, Zibilich was flown suspended below the ship—and in tandem with an attending ranger—directly to the Jenny Lake Rescue Cache at Lupine Meadows. He was then transferred to a waiting park ambulance and transported to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson.
It appears that Zibilich stepped on and dislodged several small boulders during his descent, which in turn loosened a large boulder and allowed it to roll over his arm. Because they were pursuing just a day hike to the Upper Saddle and not attempting a technical climb, Zibilich and his partner did not have climbing ropes or harnesses with them. They did have helmets at the time of the incident.
Mountain rescue – http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20150721/NEWS01/150729859
Lake Mead National Recreation Area – NV, AZ
Man Struck And Killed By Boat Propeller
On the afternoon of July 25th, park dispatch received a call reporting that a visitor had been cut by a boat propeller near Cactus Cove.
The Nevada Department of Wildlife and Arizona Game and Fish were first on scene and pronounced the man dead upon arrival.
According to witnesses, the boat’s operator accidentally put the boat in reverse and ran over the victim. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department dive team was called in to assist with the recovery.
The National Park Service and Nevada Department of Wildlife are investigating the incident.
Katmai National Park & Preserve (AK)
Four Rescued From Overturned Plane At Brooks Camp
A Piper PA-22 Pacer on floats with a pilot and three passengers on board made a landing on Naknek Lake in three- to four-foot swells just after noon on July 5th. Although the landing was rough, the pilot was able to settle the plane on the water in a stable condition. He was attempting to sail the airplane to the beach when the plane turned sideways and the wind picked up the right wing, burying the left wing in the water where it remained.
The pilot instructed his passengers to don lifejackets, which they all managed to get on prior to the airplane rolling inverted in the water. All four occupants exited the aircraft underwater and climbed up on the floats.
The accident was witnessed by Chief of Resources Troy Hamon, who, along with Naknek District Ranger Dave Woodcock, had just launched the park’s Palyak landing craft to undertake a search for three overdue hikers. They immediately responded to the overturned aircraft. Hamon was able to successfully maneuver the boat in high winds and waves to a point where Woodcock was able to assist the passengers into the boat. This took three or four approaches to get everyone safely into the Palayak. Hamon then offloaded the passengers on the beach, where they were escorted to the Brooks Lodge and a roaring fire.
The lodge manager and employees provided the soggy aviators with dry clothes and hot drinks. All four were uninjured and only slightly cold with no sign of hypothermia.
After dropping off the people, Hamon and Woodcock returned to the sunken airplane and managed to stop the movement of the plane toward the beach by attaching an anchor to one of the floats. The aircraft was refloated and retrieved by the insurance company five days later. Because of Hamon’s foresight in anchoring the airplane in deep water, the aircraft remained intact and was successfully righted and flown away.
The search for the overdue hikers resumed later that afternoon, but rough conditions forced the search boat to return to base. The park aircraft was flown during a lull in the winds and located the three hikers, all of whom were in good condition. Pilot Allen Gilliland landed his wheeled Cessna C-185 approximately a half mile away and was able to retrieve all three hikers in two flights.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area – NV, AZ
Man Rescued After Driving Truck Off Cliff Into Lake Mohave
A man driving a Ford Ranger pickup intentionally drove through a guard rail and went over a cliff and into Lake Mohave immediately east of the Davis Dam Bridge early on the morning of July 7th. Bullhead City Police Department officers responded and requested assistance from rangers. They reported that the man swam into the dam holding basin and was refusing to come to shore.
With the assistance of Bureau of Reclamation security and staff, rangers and Bullhead City police officers were able to access the holding basin, which is barricaded off from vessels.
The man was using a piece of foam to hold himself above water but refused to go to shore. He was brought onto the ranger vessel without incident approximately one hour after he entered the water. He was transported by vessel and was treated for hypothermia and transported to Western Arizona Regional Medical Center.
Bullhead City Police Department and Lake Mead National Recreation Area are investigating the incident.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area — NV, AZ
Woman Seriously Injured In Boating Accident
A woman sustained life-threatening injuries in a boating accident near Callville Bay on Lake Mead on the morning of July 15th.
Witnesses said two boats were pulling into a wakeless area near Sandy Beach when one boat hit the other from behind. The boat that was hit was carrying three occupants. A woman sustained life-threatening injuries and was flown by Mercy Air to a hospital; a man was treated for minor injuries. The other occupant of the boat and the operator of the second boat were not hurt.
The incident is under investigation.
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