Tag Archives: injury

Survival Weekly – 8/4/14…


Bryce Canyon National Park (UT)
Visitor Seriously Injured When Thrown By Mule

On Saturday, July 26th, rangers received an emergency call reporting that a trail rider had been thrown by a mule during a guided trip on the Peekaboo loop trail and been seriously injured.

Rangers assembled a rescue team that included personnel from Garfield County EMS and Tropic Fire and Rescue. A medical team determined that an air evacuation would be needed, as the nearest trauma center is four hours away and the accident had occurred two-and-a-half miles from the nearest trailhead.

A Classic Lifeguard helicopter from Page, Arizona, flew to the park and picked up the injured visitor at a landing zone established by rescuers. The injured visitor was taken to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo, Utah, for treatment for a pelvis fracture and shattered collarbone.


Bryce Canyon National Park (UT)

Lightning Strike Injures Park Visitor

The park received a report last Monday of a visitor down and unconscious and in need of medical assistance on the Rim Trail. A storm had recently passed through the area, bringing heavy rain and lightning.

Rangers began a hasty search along the trail and found the visitor suffering seizures off to the side of the trail between Sunset and Inspiration Points. Initial signs and symptoms indicated that the visitor had likely been the victim of lightning side splash, as a tree several feet away had recently been struck by lightning.

An ambulance from Garfield County EMS was soon on scene. The patient was transferred to the burn unit at University of Utah Medical Center for further care.

Rocky Mountain National Park (CO)
Missing Hiker Found By Searchers

On the morning of Monday, July 28th, the park received a call advising that a 56-year-old Illinois man was overdue from a climb of Longs Peak.

He’d planned on summiting the peak on the east side on Sunday. Around 4:30 p.m., he called his family and told them that he’d be late getting back to the trailhead. When he failed to show up or call again, they contacted the park.

Members of the park’s search and rescue team began looking for him on Monday morning, retracing what they assumed was his intended route. Just before noon, the man called his family; he said that he was okay, but that he’d had to spend the night on the peak due to severe weather and nightfall. He then resumed his descent in heavy fog in the morning and became lost. He also reported that he might be on Mount Meeker.

A helicopter was brought in to assist in the search and spotted the man below Peacock Pool in the Roaring Fork drainage late in the afternoon. Rangers were nearby and reached him 15 minutes later. He declined medical evaluation and evacuation by helicopter, saying that he wanted to hike out on his own. Ranger led him back to the trail and gave him directions to the trailhead.

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (CA)
Missing 13-Year-Old Hiker Found By Searchers

On the evening of July 28th, the parks’ trail crew found a missing 13-year-old boy who had been separated from his hiking party while in the Arrow Peak (elevation 12,959 feet) area of Kings Canyon National Park on Sunday, July 27th.

The boy stayed overnight at the trail crew camp until he was airlifted out of the Bench Lake area of the park yesterday morning. Prior to the flight, a park medic evaluated him and found him to be uninjured and in good condition.

Dispatch received a call about the missing hiker from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office around 2 p.m. on Monday afternoon. The hiking party had departed from Taboose Pass in the Inyo National Forest and was headed for Bench Lake and Arrow Peak in Kings Canyon National Park.

A search began later that day. Among those participating in the operation were 25 National Park Service staff from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks who searched by ground and helicopter, conducted interviews, and planned for the next day’s operation. 

Incident operations concluded yesterday with 28 NPS employees involved, primarily in getting the boy to the helicopter landing zone and returning searchers to their normal work locations.


Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River (NY,PA)
Man Survives Near Drowning In Delaware River

On the afternoon Saturday, July 26th, rangers responded to a non-fatal drowning, often referred to as a near drowning, that occurred at Staircase Rapids.

The victim was a young man who’d entered the water to swim from one raft to another. He was not wearing a life jacket and according to his companions was intoxicated. 

A man in the raft that the victim was swimming toward saw him struggling in the water. He did not know the victim (they had only met that day), but asked others in the raft who did know him if they thought he was alright or needed help. They said that he was okay and that he knew how to swim.

The man in the raft saw the victim’s head bob under the water, though, and believed, correctly, that he was in the process of drowning. He entered the water, wearing his life jacket, swam to the victim and brought him to the Pennsylvania shoreline. The victim was conscious but displaying an altered mental state; it is unclear if this was due to the drowning or intoxication or a combination of both.

The rescuer then swam back across the river to the New York shoreline and ran to Kittatinny Canoes’ Staircase Rapids base and had them call 911. 

Park protection rangers responded via patrol boat along with local police constables and fire and EMS personnel. Lumberland Volunteer Fire Department’s boat was first on scene and took the victim to the ambulance that was waiting at Kittatinny Canoe’s base. The victim was transported to Bon Secours Hospital in Port Jervis, where he was treated and released.

The incident is under investigation.

Lake Mead NRA – NV, AZ

Rangers Rescue Kayaker From Lake Mohave

Around 5 p.m. on July 24th, park dispatch received a call reporting that a man was struggling in the water near Nelson’s Landing on Lake Mohave. Rangers responded by boat and found the man floating motionless, holding onto a kayak.

The man said he was trying to swim across to the Arizona shoreline when the wake of a personal watercraft threw him from his kayak. He claimed he became separated from his life jacket, but no life jacket was found. He also claimed he was floating for around 30 minutes and that no bystanders offered to help.

Witnesses said he was floating in the water for between one and one-and-a-half hours and that an individual tried to rescue him, but that he refused assistance. They also said they did not see him wearing a life jacket.

Winds were 10 to 15 mph, creating six- to twelve-inch waves. Attempting to cross the lake while holding on to a kayak with no life jacket available was extremely hazardous to both the man and to boaters operating in the area. The man ended up more than a quarter mile north of his starting location and approximately 300 yards from shore.

Over the course of the preceding three days, three swimmers drowned in the park. None of them was wearing a life jacket.

Rocky Mountain National Park (CO)
Seriously Injured Man Rescued From Backcountry

On the afternoon of July 25th, the park received a cell phone call from a 31-year-old man who reported that he’d fallen an unknown distance while glissading down Gabletop Mountain and had sustained numerous injuries.

The Forest Service helicopter employed earlier in the day for a body recovery from Longs Peak was utilized for aerial reconnaissance. Using cell phone GPS coordinates, rangers were able to determine his general location below Gabletop Mountain; the helicopter’s crew provided his exact location. 

A rescue operation was begun. Four rangers and rescue equipment were flown to Loomis Lake between severe thunderstorms. They then hiked to his location, a steep cirque above the lake at an altitude of around 11,300 feet, arriving just after midnight. The injured man greatly aided in his rescue by moving down a steep band of rock, then down a steep snow field toward the rangers.  

The rangers found that the man was ambulatory, but that he was suffering from life-threatening  injuries. They lowered him 500 feet with ropes and then assisted him an additional 700 feet down steep mountainous terrain to Loomis Lake.  A paramedic on the park’s rescue team provided advanced life support throughout the incident.

The man was flown to Beaver Meadows Road, then taken by a Flight for Life helicopter to St. Anthony’s Hospital for further treatment.  

Park rescue team members feel this was truly a life-saving mission. The man was fortunate to have cell phone coverage in this remote location, which has very limited coverage.

Glacier National Park
Hiker Shoots Bear On Park Trail

A 57-year-old Texas man was hiking alone on the Mt. Brown Lookout trail last Saturday morning when a bear charged him from below the trail. The man used his bear spray on him, then shot the bear with one round from a handgun he was carrying. Indications are that he hit the bear, which then ran away.

The hiker then headed back to the trailhead, encountering a volunteer backcountry ranger on the trail along the way. The volunteer notified park dispatch of the incident.

Rangers immediately closed the trial and began an investigation. They also staffed the trailhead in order to advise other visitors what had happened. Rangers and bear specialists began a search for the bear, which may be either a grizzly or a black bear.

The bear has not yet been found and the investigation is continuing. The trail remains closed.

Park visitors are encouraged to carry bear spray as a deterrent for a charging grizzly bear. No single deterrent is 100 percent effective, but compared to all others, including firearms, proper use of bear spray has proven to be the best method for fending off threatening and attacking bears and for preventing injury to the person and animal involved.

SAR for mising hikers – http://www.voxy.co.nz/national/trampers-missing-tararua-ranges/5/198151

Injured hiker rescued – http://www.malibutimes.com/news/article_9e772828-167f-11e4-ad06-0019bb2963f4.html

Injured ATV rider rescued – http://www.nbcmontana.com/sports/atv-rider-rescued-in-gallatin-canyon-area/27181330

Injured climber rescued – http://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2014/07/28/otley-chevin-climber-airlifted-after-falling-40ft-while-abseiling

Ultra-runner’s dies from fall –   http://www.durangoherald.com/article/20140728/NEWS01/140729588/Oregon-man-dies-near-Ice-Lakes-

Missing wildland firefighter found – http://www.kaj18.com/news/search-continuing-for-missing-wildland-firefighter-in-montana/

Pilot survives crash –  http://www.vancouversun.com/Search+rescue+crews+look+plane+crash+reported+west+Vernon+updated/10070687/story.html

Birdwatcher forced to spend night out – http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/58235942-78/canyon-search-lake-salt.html.csp

Multiple SAR’s in Tonto Rim – http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/58235942-78/canyon-search-lake-salt.html.csp

Dehydrated hikers rescued – http://napavalleyregister.com/news/local/chp-rescues-hikers-in-rural-napa-county/article_54c1dcb2-2cf0-57b4-9534-a837c7a5ccc5.html

Miscommunication prompts SAR-  http://www.kelownanow.com/news/news/Local_News/14/07/30/COSAR_Search_Big_White_for_Missing_Man

Missing swimmer not located – http://calgary.ctvnews.ca/rcmp-and-search-and-rescue-members-scour-revelstoke-lake-for-missing-swimmer-1.1940831

ATV rider injured and rescued –   http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/news/local/article_82a76a16-19dd-11e4-b44c-0017a43b2370.html

Injured climber rescued – http://fox13now.com/2014/08/02/search-and-rescue-crews-respond-to-man-who-fell-in-bell-canyon/

Injured climber rescued – http://www.castanet.net/news/Penticton/120340/Climber-rescued-from-canyon

Injured hiker spotted by Life Flight crew – http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=30988748

Campers rescued from flash flood – http://kutv.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_12968.shtml

Injured camper rescued after fall – http://www.wkyt.com/home/headlines/Wolfe-County-rescue-crews-save-injured-person-at-Red-River-Gorge-269730841.html


Survival Weekly – 7/28/14…


Miscommunication leads to search – http://www.odt.co.nz/news/queenstown-lakes/310274/miscommunication-leads-search-operation

SAR team member suffers medical emergency during mission –   http://www.kptv.com/story/26091507/search-and-rescue-team-member-suffers-emergency-during-mission

Gates Of The Arctic National Park & Preserve (AK)
Backpacker Rescued From Kobuk River Headwaters

During the early hours of July 21st, rangers were notified that Andrew Corey of Anchorage, Alaska, had activated his inReach device (a satellite emergency notification device) and that he was seeking rescue.

The inReach device indicated that Corey was located on the headwaters of the Kobuk River. Text communications from Corey indicated that he had flipped his pack raft, that he was hypothermic, and that he was requesting assistance.

Rangers coordinated rescue efforts with Brooks Range Aviation and Kingdom Air Corps personnel in a hasty search effort and ultimately worked with the Alaska National Guard’s Rescue Coordination Center in Corey’s recovery.

Corey planned to travel from the Dalton Highway to Kotzebue, Alaska, on a solo backpacking and pack raft trip and had been in the backcountry for about 29 days. Travel conditions caused Corey to cut short his initial planned trip and he was headed to Walker Lake for an early pickup when he flipped his pack raft in the Kobuk River.

Weather conditions and Corey’s location prevented the first attempts at rescue and delayed his recovery until about 2 p.m. He was found to be in good condition on a gravel bar. He was flown to Bettles, where he declined medical attention.

Mount Rainier National Park (WA)
Major Search For Missing Hiker Unsuccessful

On Saturday, July 12th, Edwin Birch, 64, of Tacoma, Washington, set out with his son to hike a 19-mile stretch of the Wonderland Trail. 

Birch dropped his son off at White River and then drove to the Box Canyon trailhead. The plan was for the son to hike south to Box Canyon, with Birch hiking north to White River, crossing paths on the trail midway.  Around 3:30 p.m., father and son intersected on the trail at an elevation of approximately 6,600 feet near Indian Bar, then continued on their respective ways. 

After arriving at the Box Canyon trailhead around midnight, the son retrieved the car and drove to pick up his father at White River. When his father did not appear, he notified park rangers at the White River Campground at 1:30 a.m. 

Formal search operations were begun on Sunday morning and continued for six days. Ground operations included 106 searchers – NPS rangers, volunteers from Bellingham, Central Washington, Everett, Inland, Olympic, Portland, Seattle, Skagit, and Tacoma Mountain Rescue, and rescue dog teams from Everett, Kittitas, and Lewis Mountain Rescue.

Participating in air operations were Northwest Helicopters, CH-47 Chinook aircraft from the 214th US Air Reserve out of Joint Base Lewis McChord, and a FLIR/NVG equipped Blackhawk from CBP’s Marine Division in Bellingham.

The search was concentrated in the drainages surrounding the point last seen and the intended travel route. No signs or clues of Birch’s whereabouts were discovered.  On July 19th, the search operation transitioned to a continuous limited search.  All searchers are out of the field.  The park will continue to look for Birch, with rangers checking the area and interviewing hikers as part of their normal patrol duties.

Grand Teton National Park (WY)
Hiker Killed In Fall Near Inspiration Point

The body of an overdue hiker was discovered on Tuesday afternoon near the mouth of Cascade Canyon.

Will Cornyn, 36, of San Francisco, California, did not have a pulse when one of several search teams found him lying below a steep cliff band near Inspiration Point. He was pronounced dead at the scene by park EMTs in consultation with the park’s medical director.

Cornyn headed out late on Sunday afternoon from the southeast shore of Jenny Lake with the goal of hiking to Lake Solitude in the North Fork of Cascade Canyon. He did not return to his campsite at Jenny Lake Sunday evening and was reported overdue by his girlfriend at noon on Monday. Cornyn had not planned on an overnight stay in the backcountry and did not carry equipment necessary for spending a night in the mountains.

 A hasty search was conducted on Monday afternoon by rangers who were on routine patrol and additional rangers were called into service. Two rangers also flew in the Teton Interagency contract helicopter to conduct an aerial search until darkness prevented further efforts. The aerial search was temporarily delayed by intense thunderstorms that passed across the Teton Range and battered the peaks with heavy rain, strong winds and lightning strikes.

Seventy-four people gathered early Tuesday morning to begin a full-scale search for the missing hiker.  Park employees and Teton Interagency fire personnel—plus a Teton Interagency helitak crew, a Teton Interagency contract helicopter, four search dog teams from Wyoming K-9 and JH Search Dogs, and several park volunteers—thoroughly searched  numerous backcountry locations in Cascade Canyon and Paintbrush Canyon and surrounding areas in a coordinated effort to locate the overdue hiker.

After nearly six hours, one of 19 assigned search parties discovered Cornyn. His body was extricated from Inspiration Point via a helicopter long-line and turned over to the Teton County coroner.

Grand Teton National Park (WY)
Seriously Injured Hiker Evacuated From Garnet Canyon

A backcountry hiker received a serious injury to her leg as she jumped from a rock while descending the Cache Couloir above the Platforms in Garnet Canyon last Sunday afternoon. 

After jumping from the rock, the woman was unable to move her leg. A member of her hiking party of five dialed 911 to report the need for assistance. Rangers launched a short-haul rescue operation to extricate the 23-year-old woman with assistance from a Teton Interagency contract helicopter.

The helicopter flew three rangers into Garnet Canyon on a reconnaissance flight to pinpoint the woman’s location. They soon spotted her and the pilot landed in Garnet Meadows and dropped off the rangers. They were joined by two other rangers who hiked in, arriving around 8 p.m.

A decision was made to short-haul the woman via an aerial evacuation suit, with an attending rescuer, to the Jenny Lake rescue cache at Lupine Meadows. The ship landed there a half hour later and the woman was taken to St. John’s Medical Center for further care.

The woman and members of her party told rangers that they did not have specific hiking plans for the day. Because they were unsure of their exact location when the accident occurred, rescuers had to use ‘pings’ from three separate cell phone calls to obtain GPS coordinates. Only the third call provided accurate coordinates.

Lake Mead NRA – AZ, NV
Two Rescued, Two Missing In Separate Same-Day Incidents

On July 20th, rangers rescued two visitors and searched for two swimmers who are still missing.

Around 11 a.m., dispatch received a 911 call reporting that a woman was having difficulty breathing while hiking in White Rock Canyon. Rangers located her and hiked her out to safety. She refused medical assistance.

Shortly thereafter, a visitor notified a ranger that a person was missing at Lake Mohave south of Willow Beach. Later reports indicated that a man had jumped off a boat to go swimming and was last seen going underwater. Rangers are continuing to search the area with the assistance of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Search and Rescue Dive Team.

Around 2 p.m., a 911 call came in reporting a near drowning at Ski Cove on Lake Mohave. Rangers and medics responded. The man was flown to a Las Vegas hospital by Mercy Air, where he is expected to recover.

Twenty minutes later, dispatch received another 911 call, this one reporting that a man went missing while swimming near Boulder Islands on Lake Mead. Rangers, Nevada Department of Wildlife game wardens and members of the Metro Search and Rescue Dive Team are searching for him.

All incidents are under investigation. In the water-related cases, none of the victims was wearing a life jacket. Winds were gusting between 20-30 miles per hour throughout the afternoon.

Buffalo National Scenic River (AR)
Seriously Injured Hiker Evacuated From Backcountry

On the evening of July 14th, an 18-year-old Jonesboro, Arkansas, man slipped and fell while attempting to cross a rock gap at the top of Eden Falls off the  Lost Valley trail. He took an initial fall of 10 feet before he was stopped momentarily by a ledge, but the wet conditions caused him to once again slip and fall another 15 to 20 feet.  

His hiking companion lost sight of him after the final fall but was assisted in reaching him by two University of Arkansas students who were also hiking in the area. Due to lack of cellular coverage, other hikers traveled out from Lost Valley to call Buffalo National River dispatch.  

Once the page was received, Buffalo River Search and Rescue (BUFFSAR) team members were mobilized, with the three young men assisting team members with the recovery. BUFFSAR volunteer and EMT Chad Wilt was the first rescuer to  arrive at Lost Valley and was led to the victim’s location in a slot canyon by the two assisting hikers. Although badly injured, the victim was conscious, but couldn’t remember the events of the fall.

Those assisting with the search and rescue efforts were Air Evac, Mennonite Services, North Arkansas Medical Regional Medical Center EMS, Carroll County, Mount Sherman Volunteer Fire Department, and Ponca Volunteer Fire Department.

The teams performed a high angle rescue to bring the victim back along the trail that leads to the top of Eden Falls. He was then evacuated – partly by litter team and partly by all-terrain vehicle and litter trailer – to the trailhead. From there he was transported by ambulance to Compton and then air evacuated to Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Missouri.  

At the time of the report late last week, he was in intensive care but in stable condition. The incident was managed under a unified command system between the National Park Service and the Newton County Sheriff’s Office.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (AZ,UT)
Girl Injured By Boat Propeller

A 12-year-old girl visiting from Israel was struck by a boat propeller and seriously injured on July 23rd.

The injury occurred when she was ejected from the back of a moving powerboat while holding onto an inflatable inner tube. She sustained a severe lower leg injury when hit by the boat’s propeller.Coconino County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Classic Aviation responded to the Wahweap main launch ramp. The girl was flown from there to Flagstaff Medical Center.

The incident is currently under investigation by the sheriff’s office.    

Injured climber rescued –

Search called off for missing hiker –

Family of four located during SAR – http://www.ksl.com/?sid=30887831&nid=968

Stranded and injured kayakers rescued –   http://www.taosnews.com/news/article_baaec146-1124-11e4-8724-0019bb2963f4.html

Injured boy rescued from mountain http://www.kutv.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_12776.shtml

Stranded hiker spends night out and rescued the following day –   http://www.kutv.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_12809.shtml

Stranded climbers rescued – http://www.9news.com/story/news/local/2014/07/22/north-maroon-peak-rescue/12982875/



Survival Weekly – 7/21/14…


Sometimes the difference between a half-day day ordeal and a six day nightmare is a a couple ounces or a hundred bucks. Itineraries (free), signal mirrors ($10), flashlight ($10), whistles ($5), PLB’s ($100 w/rebate), orange garbage bags ($1), good clothing ($100), etc. do not fit into the “romantic” notions of wilderness survival.

Well this week, Survival Weekly is going to take a dump on romance with a first person account of a six day ordeal. Thanks to Mike for sending me the link.

Injured hiker rescued. PLB and flashlight used for signalling 

“The Marion County Sheriff’s Office was notified of Smilenski’s potential situation via a Personal Locator Beacon, which is similar to locating devices used on aircrafts, but are for personal use. Smilenski was located by the helicopter just after 10 p.m. as he was flashing some kind of light to signal rescuers.”


Rescued hiker tells story of six day ordeal (with video) – 

“On Thursday, he saw helicopters — but they didn’t see him. Two flew over him several times, he said. “It was kind of wrenching.”

“In the future, Hein plans to carry a reflective mirror, which can be used to signal rescue aircraft; a satellite-linked device, which can be used to alert rescuers about a location; and more medical supplies and gear.”


Body of missing hiker found – http://icelandreview.com/news/2014/07/16/body-woman-found-canyon

Rafters rescued http://www.dailyinterlake.com/news/local_montana/five-safe-after-two-water-incidents/article_9343d99a-0c77-11e4-9e36-001a4bcf887a.html

SAR launched for missing hiker – http://globalnews.ca/news/1454256/search-and-rescue-crews-looking-for-comox-valley-hiker-missing-since-july-8/

Paraglider rescued from open water (with video of operation) –  http://www.breakingnews.ie/discover/gbmhgbmhqloj/

Hiker rescued from quicksand – http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865606926/Grand-County-search-crews-rescue-woman-from-quicksand-recover-hikers-body.html

Arches National Park (UT)
High Temperatures Cause Series Of Heat-Related Emergencies

The park experienced a series of heat-related medical emergencies involving seven visitors and one employee within a period of just over 24 hours last weekend. High temperatures both days were in the 100 to 104 degree range.  Of this total, three were taken by ambulance to a local hospital and a fourth was flown to another hospital in Grand Junction. The remaining four were treated and released.

Just before 2 p.m., on Saturday, July 12th, rangers received a report of a woman having a  heart attack on the Delicate Arch viewpoint trail. The first rangers to arrive were unable to find her on the trail, but were soon flagged down by the occupants of a vehicle near Wolfe Ranch. Two men inside who’d just come off that trail were suffering from heat exhaustion. They were treated by park personnel and Grand County EMS.

Around 8:30 that evening, a report was received of an unconscious man near Delicate Arch. Park, Grand County SAR and Grand County EMS personnel responded, hiking a mile and a half up from the trailhead. The man was treated for heart issues arising from heat stroke throughout the rescue and litter carryout. He was taken to Moab Regional Hospital

EMS incidents resumed the following afternoon when rangers received a report of an unconscious man near Delicate Arch. Park and Grand County personnel again responded, treated the man on scene, and littered him out to the trailhead. He refused further treatment and transportation to the hospital.

While the above rescue was in progress, an interpretive ranger preparing for a guided hike reported coming up an unconscious man in the Fiery Furnace parking lot. The responding ranger found an incoherent man with tingling in his arms and legs. A woman in the car was suffering from severe headache and cramping. Both were taken by ambulance to the hospital.

A third EMS emergency was reported while the above incidents were underway. Around 4:30 p.m., the same ranger who’d called in the above incident was leading the guided hike when a visitor collapsed.  The ranger reported that the woman was unconscious and that she could not obtain a radial pulse. EMS personnel who were still in the Fiery Furnace parking lot headed down the trail. The woman was assessed and found to be suffering from heat stroke. She was flown by helicopter to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction.

Finally, at the conclusion of the Delicate Arch carryout, one member of the park SAR team was treated on scene for heat exhaustion. 

Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (GA)
Rangers Save Three From Drowning In River


Rangers Paul Forward and Chris Calkins and Supervisory Ranger Sean Perchalski were patrolling Diving Rock, one of the park’s busiest areas, on the evening of July 6th when Forward spotted a man in the middle of the river who appeared to be in distress.

The man went under several times as two other visitors struggled to keep him afloat. He then began to pull both of them underwater.

Forward threw them a lifeguard rescue tube and a throw bag, but the people in the water couldn’t reach them. Perchalski then threw a life vest and a second throw bag, which they were able to grab and use to stay afloat. The rangers then pulled all three to shore.

The 22-year-old man who’d originally gotten into trouble was checked out by EMS, but declined further treatment at a medical facility. The other two were extremely fatigued but otherwise okay.

This area has been the scene of several drownings in the past few years by people who’ve tried unsuccessfully to swim across the river. The most recent was on June 9th, when a 24-year-old man drowned while swimming across the river at the same exact location. The river is approximately 175 feet across at this point.

Earlier that day, rangers had discussed what they would do if this exact situation were to occur.

Grand Teton National Park (WY)
One Climber Killed, Another Injured In Separate Incidents

A climbing accident on the 13,770-foot Grand Teton resulted in the death of one member of a guided climbing party on Monday, July 14th. 

Mary Bilyeu, 43, of Edmond, Oklahoma, was ascending to the Upper Saddle of the Grand Teton (elevation 13,160 feet) with her climbing partner and a guide from Jackson Hole Mountain Guides when she fell while negotiating a short section above the Exum Gully around 8:30 a.m.

Rangers were notified of the accident at 8:40 a.m. and a rescue response was quickly begun. Two rangers on routine patrol on the Lower Saddle of the Grand Teton (11,600 feet) climbed to the accident site to begin emergency medical care and prepare the injured climber for a helicopter evacuation.

Bilyeu was unresponsive when park rangers arrived on scene and could not be revived. She was pronounced dead in consultation with the park’s medical director and rangers on scene. Other Jackson Hole Mountain Guides staff responded to the area and escorted Bilyeu’s climbing partner to the Corbet High Camp near the Lower Saddle, and later escorted her to Lupine Meadows trailhead on the valley floor.

The circumstances leading to this climbing accident are under investigation by Grand Teton National Park rangers and no further details are available at this time.

Rangers began to coordinate a body recovery on the Grand Teton when Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a second emergency call at approximately 11 a.m. from a hiking party near Paintbrush Divide. 

Silas Peterson of Santa Fe, New Mexico fell while descending Paintbrush Divide into Paintbrush Canyon and sustained multiple injuries.  Although Peterson was using an ice axe, he slid down a steep snow-covered slope, could not self-arrest, and fell an additional 150 feet through steep loose rock.

Peterson’s hiking partner called 911 to report the accident. Another party ascending from Paintbrush Canyon witnessed the event and also called 911. That party then hiked to Peterson to provide first aid until rescuers arrived.

A Teton Interagency contract helicopter readied to assist with the rescue operations on the Grand Teton was diverted to transport rescuers to Paintbrush Divide. Two rangers were short-hauled to the Divide from the Lupine Meadows Rescue Cache, and they descended snow and rock to reach Peterson at 11:45 a.m.  A rescue litter was also flown to the scene.

Peterson was provided emergency medical care and evacuated from Paintbrush Divide via short-haul with a ranger attending. Upon arriving at Lupine Meadows Rescue Cache, Peterson was treated by the park’s medical director before being transported at approximately 1:15 p.m. via an Air Idaho life-flight helicopter to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, Idaho for further medical care. Peterson and his partner were on the final day of a six day Teton Crest Trail backpacking trip.

Both rescue operations were affected by the forecast and subsequent arrival of severe thunderstorms that pummeled the Teton Range and Jackson Hole valley with lightning strikes and several waves of rain, hail and high winds.

Grand Teton National Park (WY)
Woman Dies In Snake River Rafting Accident

A rafting accident on the Snake River resulted in the death of one member of a private boating party on the evening of Sunday, July 13th.

A 63-year-old Jackson woman was riding in a rubber raft just north of the Moose Landing with five other people, including her husband, when the raft hit a mid-stream obstruction, overturned, and spilled all six rafters into the river. 

After the raft flipped, five of the boaters were able to reach a gravel bar in the middle of the river. A passing private raft picked up the stranded boaters and floated them the remaining three-quarters of a mile to the Moose Landing, where they were met by park rangers and emergency medical providers. The woman, though, was caught in the fast-moving current and swept downstream. 

Bystanders near the Dornan’s landing on the east bank of the Snake River saw something floating in the water and determined that it was a person. They quickly reached the riverbank, pulled the woman out of the water, and started CPR in an attempt to revive her. Paramedics took over and continued for 45 minutes, but couldn’t revive her.

Numerous rangers and EMTs responded to both the Moose Landing and Dornan’s to rescue the boaters and provide medical care. The circumstances leading to this rafting accident are under investigation. 

Survival Weekly 5-12-14


Grand Teton National Park (WY)
Snowboarder Dies Of Traumatic Injuries

On Monday, May 5th, a backcountry snowboarder died, likely from traumatic injuries he sustained during a 1,500-foot fall on Teewinot Mountain. 

Joseph Lohr, 24, of Anchorage, Alaska, and had summited the 12,325-foot mountain with two companions around 10 a.m. They were descending the snow-covered peak on snowboards and skis when the accident occurred.

Lohr’s partners made an emergency call for help via cell phone soon after they reached their friend, who lay unconscious but breathing on a steep slope of Teewinot’s eastern flank. Lohr’s companions worked continually to keep him warm and breathing while awaiting rescue.

Upon receiving the emergency call, rangers immediately mobilized a response and summoned a helicopter from Ogden, Utah, to assist with the rescue operation. A hasty team of rangers skied 3,000 vertical feet up the eastern flank of Teewinot Mountain to reach Lohr and assist with emergency medical care while preparing him for transport. When the ship arrived around 3 p.m., snow squalls, high winds and low visibility prevented an aerial rescue attempt.

Lohr died from his injuries at 4 p.m., not long after rangers arrived on scene.

One ranger assisted Lohr’s companions to the valley floor while the remaining rescue personnel used a litter, ropes and pulleys to move Lohr’s body to a less hazardous area down the mountain slope. Due to hazardous snow conditions and waning light, rescuers secured the rescue litter on the mountain for the evening and returned to the valley floor at approximately 10 p.m.  Rescuers returned to the mountain on Tuesday morning to retrieve Lohr’s body.

Although most recently a resident of Salt Lake City, Lohr was in the process of moving to Jackson. His parents happened to be in the valley on a visit and were present for much of the park’s rescue effort on Monday and recovery mission on Tuesday. According to his father, Lohr and his companions were all experienced backcountry snowboarders/skiers who knew how to handle themselves well in such mountainous terrain.

Lohr was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

Dehydrated hiker rescued  – http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865602424/Search-and-rescue-crews-find-dehydrated-hiker-missing-in-The-Wave.html

Machete cut ends vision quest – http://www.wkyt.com/home/headlines/Wolfe-Co-Search-and-Rescue-Team-saves-man-injured-by-machete-258021391.html?ref=391

Lost family calls for help – http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865602512/Search-and-rescue-crews-looking-for-family-in-Cache-County.html

Hiker packs a six pack instead of gear and has to be rescued – http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/police-rescue-intoxicated-tramper-5965804

Injured hiker fantasizes about movie actress to keep his spirits up – http://infotel.ca/newsitem/injured-hiker-shares-story-of-fear-and-rescue/it9866

Injured skier rescued – http://www.krdo.com/news/search-for-skier/25915368

Tragedy on the lake – http://www.castanet.net/news/BC/114960/1-teen-dead-3-missing-in-lake

Missing hiker found – http://www.morganton.com/news/missing-hiker-found/article_11b8c608-d926-11e3-b795-001a4bcf6878.html

Stuck on a ledge – http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2014/05/12/eda-woman-rescued-from-ledges-in-snow-canyon-state-park/#.U3FxtPldX58

Two brothers and their plane missing: http://www.krtv.com/news/wyoming-officials-search-for-small-plane-reported-overdue/

Wreckage found: http://www.kaj18.com/news/missing-aircraft-located-on-wyoming-mountainside/

Survival Weekly…


Injured hiker rescued –  http://www.castanet.net/edition/news-story-114413-48-.htm

Injured hiker and fisherman rescued – http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/long-busy-night-for-search-rescue-teams-ends-well-publish2_ap_d29e489a33f3bd260a9e1be93d5253a5

Survival gear lowered to stranded hunter – http://www.odt.co.nz/news/queenstown-lakes/300804/survival-gear-lowered-teen-stuck-bush

SAR initiated from a satellite messenger – http://www.cftktv.com/News/Story.aspx?ID=2155961

Father and 2 kids lost in swamp for 2 days – http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/04/29/search-crews-rescue-father-2-kids-in-sc-national-park/

Missing turkey hunters found – http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/story/06d6acd66a294ad9af8ab4d3f1cf0d38/SD–Missing-Hunters/#.U2bZ-fldX58

SAR underway for missing forager – http://q13fox.com/2014/04/27/search-underway-for-missing-93-year-old-federal-way-man/#axzz30nKkqK2P

Cold, wet, and rescued – http://infotel.ca/newsitem/cold-wet-and-rescued/it9630

Injured skier rescued – http://www.telluridenews.com/articles/2014/04/27/news/doc535ad75b6398d050261429.txt