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
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (PA)
Rescue Team Member Injured In Training Accident
On Wednesday, April 8th, the park’s High Angle Rescue Team conducted a monthly scheduled joint-agency high angle rescue training session at High Point State Park in northwestern New Jersey near the park. The joint-agency team is comprised of park personnel, New Jersey state agencies personnel, and park volunteers.
Due to inclement weather on April 8th, it was decided to relocate the training inside the monument tower at High Point’s summit. There have been several previous training sessions conducted at the park which have taken place inside the monument, which is a stone masonry obelisk standing approximately 226 feet high. The interior of the monument has a metal staircase wrapping around the inside walls with horizontal landings at each level, which provides an unobstructed area in the center for rappelling or other rope rescue training.
This training session was dedicated to raising and lowering an empty basket stretcher with a litter attendant. There were eight participants, including a team leader (a Delaware Water Gap employee) and one assistant team leader (a New Jersey State Park employee). The hauling system was rigged by the assistant team leader and a regular team member (Delaware Water Gap employee). The haul system was configured for use by rescuers situated on a horizontal landing that was approximately 26 feet above a concrete surface. The configuration permitted raising and lowering each training participant through separate evolutions as the litter attendant.
The rescuers on the second floor landing operated the hauling system on the main line, which was routed at an angle up through a high directional comprised of two locking carabiners anchored to the metal stairway structure with nylon webbing at the next level above. The webbing was rigged in a “wrap three-pull two” configuration and the area where the two wraps contacted the metal handrail stanchion was wrapped with a canvas edge guard. The leg of webbing with the two directional carabiners was positioned near additional unprotected metal stairway components. A managed separate belay line was not employed.
During the final training evolution, the assistant team leader served as the litter attendant. Just before noon, he was in the upper litter attendant position, being lowered, when the upper directional anchor failed, causing him to fall approximately 20 feet, initially colliding with a stair railing and then the concrete surface. The injured rescuer was immediately attended to by team members on scene and an aeromedical helicopter was requested due to the fall, obvious arm fracture, and suspected back injury. The assistant team leader did not suffer a loss of consciousness following the accident.
Although the aeromedical helicopter reached the scene, it was cancelled prior to landing by responding local agency paramedics. The injured man was packaged and transported to a local hospital by ground ambulance. He has been subsequently released from the hospital and is recuperating at home.
Findings at the accident scene indicate that the webbing anchor attachment to the high directional became severed from contact with the metal stairway components during the repeated training evolutions, which lead to a loss of control of the load. The accident investigation will include a facilitated learning analysis, which will be prepared and published by the WASO Emergency Services Office in order to provide an accurate and detailed understanding of this event for all NPS technical rescue personnel.
Drones & SAR –
Water Safety –
Everglades National Park (FL)
Man Dies In Boating Mishap
On the evening of February 6th, Richard Raasch, 68, and Fred Thompson, 70, were in a 17-foot aluminum canoe powered by a small 4 horsepower outboard motor, en route to Jewell Key to camp for the night. This was to be the first night of a multi-day camping trip.
The men had navigated Sandfly Pass and made a wrong turn to the southeast and were in the vicinity of Rabbit Key when they saw another vessel and asked for directions. When they turned back to the northwest to head towards Jewell Key they began taking a forward quartering sea over their starboard bow.
Due to the low freeboard of the canoe, they began taking on small amounts of overspray and had to bail water. They made it to Demijohn Key, where they bailed and rested but then decided to head the final mile to Jewell Key, which was across Chokoloskee Pass. Upon entering the pass, they hit deeper water and a falling tide. With the tide and the wind both going in the same direction, the larger waves caused them to take on too much water and the vessel quickly swamped.
Both men had on lifejackets. Raasch was able to swim to Jewell Key, where he spent the night. On February 8th around noon he was able to wave down a passing boater. The search for Thompson ended on the afternoon of February 9th when rangers found him floating in a debris field about 11 miles off shore in the Gulf of Mexico. He did not survive.
Assisting in the search were personnel from the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Coast Guard and NPS staff from both Everglades and Big Cypress.
Search for missing sailor – http://splash247.com/search-and-rescue-fails-to-find-man-overboard-off-fraser-island/
Body of missing snowmobiler recovered – http://www.cbncompass.ca/News/Local/2015-04-18/article-4116633/Body-recovered-after-week-long-search/1
SAR for missing girl – http://www.kpax.com/story/28845584/search-and-rescue-underway-for-little-girl-at-state-park
Lost & Injured hikers rescued –
Everglades National Park (FL)
Missing Father And Son Found Through Interagency Search
The park received a call at 1 a.m. on January 17th reporting that a father and son were overdue from a fishing trip. The two were thought to have launched their boat the day before into Florida Bay from the Flamingo Marina; their direction was unknown.
An immediate land-based search led to the discovery of their empty truck and boat trailer at the Flamingo parking area. Rangers began a water-based search at first light.
Everglades rangers and volunteers were joined by a United States Coast Guard vessel and five Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission vessels. A Coast Guard helicopter and two fixed-wing planes from the Coast Guard and commission were also utilized. Interviews were also conducted with family and Friends in an effort to determine if the party had a specific itinerary.
Everglades rangers located the missing father and son in good condition about a mile offshore in the Gulf of Mexico just before noon. They were safely reunited with family waiting at the Flamingo Ranger Station. Follow-up interviews with the subjects revealed that they had decided to spend the night on the water without advising the reporting party of the change in plans.
SAR for oyster fisherman – http://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/3083001-151/deschutes-search-and-rescue-locates-lost-hiker#
Zion National Park (UT)
Injured Man Rescued From Slot Canyon
Park dispatch was contacted by the fee ranger at Tunnel East around 2 p.m. on the afternoon of April 3rd and informed that there was an injured man in Pine Creek Canyon requesting assistance. Pine Creek is a technical slot canyon requiring wet suits and multiple rappels.
The reporting party was a member of the injured person’s group and had ascended a rope that another group in the canyon had fixed at the first rappel. He said that a member of his party had broken his ankle at the second rappel in Pine Creek and would need SAR personnel to help him out.
A technical rescue team was organized and had a high line with a reeve system set up by 5 p.m. A high line with a reeve is a system where a rope spanning the canyon is tensioned and the rescuer and litter are attached to the high line with a pulley and pulled across using tag lines on either side of the canyon. The rescuer is positioned directly over the patient in the slot canyon and lowered using a technique called a reeve.
Ranger-Medic Ryan McDonald-O’Lear, who was lowered to the man, provided medical care and packaged him for extrication. Both were then raised to the high line and moved back across the span to the Canyon Overlook Trail. The injured man was carried off the trail by wheeled litter and transported via park ambulance to Dixie Regional Medical Center.
Fifteen SAR personnel took part in the rescue, which took approximately 5 hours to complete.
New River Gorge National River (WV)
Two Brothers Injured In Falling Accidents
Just after 7:30 pm last Sunday evening, rangers received a report that a 13-year-old boy had fallen approximately 50 feet from the rock cliffs at the end of the Long Point trail. Several local fire departments from Fayette County, the Fayette County Rope Rescue Team, local EMS, and rangers responded.
While the initial response was underway, rescuers received an update that the brother of the first falling victim, age 19, had fallen about 100 feet in the same area and was also injured.
Fire department members and the Fayette County Rope Rescue Team reached the 13-year-old brother first and found him to be conscious but with pelvic, back, and ankle pain. He was extracted by a technical litter raise system. The team provided emergency care and lifted him to the cliff top. He was then carried out by litter to the trailhead, where he was airlifted by helicopter to a local hospital.
Meanwhile, rescuers searched for the 19-year-old brother. Ranger Mark Faherty found him several hundred yards away from the first incident site. He was able to stand and walk and was walked out by rescue personnel down to the Kaymoor Trail and out to a waiting ambulance at Fayette Station Road.
Both brothers are reported to be in stable condition and are at Charleston Area Medical Center. The preliminary investigation indicates that the younger brother fell from the cliffs and landed at the bottom. The older brother then himself fell while trying to reach the younger.
Rangers Mark Faherty, Nate Freier, and FTEP ranger/ trainee Ron Babus responded from the NPS.
Small plane crash – http://www.wtsp.com/story/news/local/2015/04/20/lakeland-plane-crash/26087827/
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