Tag Archives: rafting

Survival Bi-Weekly – 6/12/15…


Image: http://www.outsideonline.com/1986496/search-and-rescue-public-service-not-exactly

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 – 

Bear attack in my district (and my excuse why Survival Weekly got delayed to Bi-weekly while I worked that incident) – http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2015/06/08/smokies-rangers-plan-euthanize-bear-attacked-boy/28691927/

Great first hand AAR from rescued hiker – http://www.equipped.org/032015survive.htm

News – 

Rescue a public service? – http://www.outsideonline.com/1986496/search-and-rescue-public-service-not-exactly

App for SAR planning – http://www.kentonline.co.uk/kent/news/ksar-38065/

Rescue in paradise could cost – http://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/blog/morning_call/2015/06/kauai-considers-making-hikers-who-ignore-warnings.html

Water Safety – 

Grand Canyon National Park (AZ)
Search For Missing River Guide Scaled Back

Efforts to find missing river guide Morgan Heimer, 22, have been scaled back following a six-day search that has turned up no clues as to his whereabouts.

Heimer was last seen on Tuesday, June 2nd, at approximately 4 p.m. around Pumpkin Springs along the Colorado River. The initial park response included searching the area where he was last seen by air and an immediate hasty search by rangers. For the past six days, park rangers have conducted an extensive search of about 14 miles of the river and four miles along its shores.

The search will now be scaled back to a continuous but limited mode in which rangers and pilots will continue to look for clues when in the area. Flyers with Heimer’s picture and description remain posted at various South Rim locations, and all launching river trips will briefed on particulars regarding the search.

Little River Canyon National Preserve (AL)
Man Drowns In Johnnie’s Creek

A Piedmont man drowned in Johnnie’s Creek at a local swimming area known as the Mill Hole on May 27th. The Mill Hole is located within the legislative boundaries of Little River Canyon National Preserve, but is on private property.

Cherokee County deputies, Cherokee County EMS, Cherokee County Rescue Squad, and National Park Service rangers responded.

Witnesses told deputies and investigators that Matthew Frost, 22, jumped into the water and appeared to be struggling. He went under and never resurfaced. Two bystanders had just arrived and jumped into the water, located Frost, and pulled him to the rocks. CPR was started once he was removed from the water. Frost was pronounced dead at the hospital by the Cherokee County coroner.

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office investigated.

Lake Meredith National Recreation Area (TX)
Local Man Drowns In Park Swimming Area

A 21-year-old Amarillo resident died at Spring Canyon just below the Sanford Dam on Wednesday, May 27th.

The Borger Police Department received a 911 call around 11:30 a.m. reporting that a swimmer had gone under and had not surfaced.

Rangers arrived on scene within minutes and had a john boat and two kayaks in the water within 30 minutes of the initial 911 call. Search efforts were accompanied by a grid ground search by NPS firefighters in the Spring Canyon swimming area.  The man’s body was found by the Amarillo Police Department’s dive team about an hour later.

SAR for missing rafter – http://www.chaffeecountytimes.com/free_content/search-continues-for–year-old-rafter-on-arkansas-river/article_19bdcfde-104c-11e5-88c2-931d38f74bd4.html

River rescue near Great Falls – http://www.kfbb.com/story/29202894/river-rescue-near-great-falls

Tragic boating accident – http://www.good4utah.com/story/d/story/search-and-rescue-underway-on-bear-lake/19994/sMqqRIZfNUeXC2yO1FwqVw

Helicopter rescue of infant – http://www.northdevonjournal.co.uk/PHOTOS-Dramatic-helicopter-rescue-month-old/story-26626212-detail/story.html

SAR for canoeists – http://www.derryjournal.com/news/major-incident-declared-after-canoes-capsize-on-foyle-1-6784156

Body of teen recovered – http://www.katu.com/news/local/Search-and-rescue-underway-at-Lewis-River-306423811.html

Boating accident – http://globalnews.ca/news/2044042/rescue-crews-and-rcmp-work-to-recover-boaters-body-after-accident-on-pitt-lake/

Surfer to the rescue – http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/surfers-brave-rescue-attempt-to-save-drowning-perth-man-swept-off-rocks-in-esperance-swell/story-fnhocxo3-1227376221031

Hiking – 

Badlands National Park (SD)
SAR Team Rescues Injured Danish Visitor

On the evening of Saturday, June 6th, the park’s search and rescue team rescued a 23-year-old visitor from Denmark who’d fallen and sustained injuries to her left leg while hiking on the Notch Trail.

The woman was able to crawl a significant distance and descend to the base of a log and cable ladder, where SAR team members found her. Team members employed a rope system to lower the patient in a litter to waiting ambulance personnel. She was then taken to a hospital in Phillip, South Dakota.

This was the second rescue from the Notch Trail this year. In April, a visitor from Russia was also injured in a fall.
Yellowstone National Park (ID,MT,WY)
Visitor Injured In Encounter With Bison

A 62-year-old Australian man sustained serious but non-life-threatening injuries after an encounter with a bison near Old Faithful Lodge yesterday morning.

According to witness reports, several people were crowding a bison that was lying on the grass near an asphalt path when the man approached it while taking pictures with an electronic notepad. He got to within three to five feet from the bison when it charged him, tossing him into the air several times.

When responding rangers arrived on scene, the bison was approximately 100 yards from the injured man. He was flown to a hospital for treatment.

Bison can sprint three times faster than humans can run and are unpredictable and dangerous. Visitors are advised to always give the animals enough space to avoid crowding the animal.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park – Two Missing Hikers Found in Park

 Rangers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park have found a missing woman and her son from Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin who had been reported being lost in the park on Sunday, June 7.

Christy Barns, 40, and her son, Casey, 16, had sent a text message to family members on Sunday evening at 8:38 p.m. stating they were lost and needed help. Rangers were notified and were able to locate the individuals’ vehicle at Clingmans Dome. The ground search was initiated on Monday morning and the pair was soon found in good condition along the Forney Creek trail a little before 2:00 p.m.

The park had mobilized an incident management team and deployed search teams to the trails surrounding Clingmans Dome. The search involved 30 National Park Services employees with 15 of those actively searching in the field. The initial search focused on trails which carried the highest probability of where the pair may have been located.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park – Body of Missing Hiker Found in Park

 Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers believe to have discovered the body of reported missing hiker, Jenny Bennett, 62, of Sylva, NC in the Lester Prong area of Greenbrier above campsite 31 on Monday, June 8. It was reported to park officials on Sunday, June 7 that Bennett was missing and possibly in the park.  Her vehicle was located at the Porters Flat Trailhead later that evening. An area wide search operation of trained man trackers was underway when she was found by rangers.

Bennett was an avid hiker in the Smoky Mountains and maintained a blog about her trips. She was a member of the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club and often liked to hike off trail in the park. http://www.knoxnews.com/news/local-news/body-of-hiker-found-in-smokies-identified-as-jenny-bennett

Body of hiker recovered –   http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Search+rescue+crews+find+body+missing+hiker+Chilliwack+backcountry/11116543/story.html

Lost & Injured hikers rescued –


Image: http://www.chaffeecountytimes.com/free_content/search-continues-for–year-old-rafter-on-arkansas-river/article_19bdcfde-104c-11e5-88c2-931d38f74bd4.html

Hunter-gatherer – 

Mushroom hunter found –   http://www.kamloopsbcnow.com/watercooler/news/news/Kamloops/15/06/02/Kamloops_Search_and_Rescue_Looking_for_Missing_Mushroom_Picker

Climbing – 

Grand Teton National Park (WY)
Injured Climber Rescued From Garnet Canyon

On Tuesday afternoon, rangers conducted a rescue operation via helicopter for an injured climber who fell on a wet rock slab just above the Meadows area of Garnet Canyon in the heart of the Teton Range.

Charlie Emerson, 31, of Marietta, Georgia was solo climbing a fourth class rated rock slab when he slipped and slid approximately 150 to 200 feet before coming to rest in a snowfield at the base of the rock feature. Emerson was not wearing a helmet at the time of his fall.

Two Grand Teton employees conducting a research project in Garnet Canyon witnessed Emerson’s sliding fall and immediately began hiking to his location. These park employees are certified as emergency medical technicians and they were able to effectively assess Emerson and provide emergency medical care until park rangers could arrive by helicopter.

A separate backcountry party also reached Emerson and placed an emergency call for help via cell phone. That call was received by Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 12:30 p.m.  Because wet, snow sloughs were shedding off areas above the accident site, responders carefully moved Emerson to a more secure area out of harm’s way.

Park rangers happened to be conducting early season training at the time at the Teton Interagency Helibase, located at the Jackson Hole Airport. Their preseason training included a Helicopter Express ship that just came under contract with Grand Teton and Bridger-Teton National Forest to support firefighting and search and rescue operations during the coming season.

The helicopter flew from the helibase to the Jenny Lake rescue cache located near the base of the Teton peaks at Lupine Meadows and picked up two rangers for transport to Garnet Canyon. After the ship landed on a snow-covered area near the accident site, the two rangers traversed about 200 yards to reach Emerson and place him in a rescue litter. They carried him back to the helispot and placed him inside the ship for a quick flight to the Jenny Lake rescue cache. Emerson was then transferred into a waiting park ambulance and transported to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson for further care of his multiple injuries.

Emerson did not receive a head injury, which was lucky given the fact that he was not wearing a helmet and that he was crossing wet and likely slippery rock slabs. While rock features in Garnet Canyon can be easy to ascend, they are often more difficult to descend. As these rock slabs melt out, they can be covered with slippery silt or sand, which makes good traction more challenging.

Climbing accident – http://www.piquenewsmagazine.com/whistler/search-and-rescue-comes-to-aid-of-one-its-own/Content?oid=2657258

Vehicles – 

 Off roader rescued – http://www.thewesternnews.com/members/search-and-rescue-pulls-jeep-from-creek/article_73822d22-092f-11e5-a4b5-77d0571dc362.html

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


Image: http://infotel.ca/newsitem/penticton-search-and-rescue-rescue-injured-hiker-at-the-bluffs/it20204

Survival Weekly – 8/25/14…


Featured – 

I highlighted key factors in this story. Day hikers would suggest they had minimal gear, but experienced would imply skills. Weather can initiate a survival situation, especially in the mountains where it can change suddenly. The SAR was initiated by a family member’s report, so their trip plan worked when they did not report in. I would be curious to know why they chose to leave their location after contacting family by phone. It seems that it must have been a calculated decision. Maybe to get better reception? Better shelter?

Mount Rainier National Park (WA)
Panhandle Gap Search Comes To Successful Conclusion

Search teams successfully located two missing day hikers in the Summerland area of the park on August 14th.

On Tuesday, August 12th, the two experienced hikers left the Summerland trailhead on the park’s east side with the intention of hiking through Summerland and Panhandle Gap, where they planned to traverse through Cowlitz Chimneys to Owyhigh. A severe storm caught them in the Chimneys, where they sheltered in place.

The next morning, following an overdue party report, a hasty search was conducted by park staff pulled from the Shadow Lake Fire. The hikers made contact with the park midday by cell phone through a family member, providing brief information before the call was lost. They moved on after reporting their location, missing park crews by four hours.

The pair backtracked to Panhandle Gap the next morning. Mountain rescue crews located them below the Gap. They were uninjured and completed the hike out to the trailhead.

Thirty people were assigned to the incident from Seattle, Tacoma, Olympic, and Everett mountain rescue teams, Central Pierce County, and park staff. Quincy Maret was incident commander.

News – 

Cyborg moth SAR drones –  http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/16724/20140820/cyborg-moth-biobots-fly-future-search-rescue-missions-video.htm

Hiking – 

Yellowstone National Park (ID,MT,WY)

Young Girl Dies In Fall Into Canyon

An eight-year-old California girl was killed in a fall into the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone on the morning of Sunday, August 17th.

The young girl was hiking with family members along the trail to the brink of the Lower Falls when the accident occurred. About two thirds of the way down the trail toward the observation platform, she reportedly stepped off the trail, lost her footing, and fell approximately 550 feet into the canyon.

Park personnel retrieved her body around noon on Sunday.

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (CA)
Body Of Missing Hiker Found By Searchers

On the afternoon of Wednesday, August 20th, the body of missing hiker Gregory Muck was recovered in the area northwest of Mount Gardiner in Kings Canyon National Park. He is presumed to have fallen in a steep and rocky area at approximately 12,000 feet in elevation.
The cause of the accident is under investigation.

On August 10th, Muck departed on a solo hike from the Roads End area of Kings Canyon National Park. He planned to hike to Gardiner Basin via Gardiner Pass. After several days in the basin, he planned to hike out Gardiner Creek to Woods Creek Trail and return to Roads End in Cedar Grove by August 17th.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks’ SAR staff, supported by searchers from Yosemite SAR, Yosemite’s search dog team (YODOGs), and a helicopter from the California Highway Patrol, began a search for this 46-year-old Santa Cruz, California, man on August 18th after he was reported overdue from a backpacking trip in Kings Canyon. A total of 71 NPS staff and park partners worked on the three-day-long search.

Grand Teton National Park (WY)
Body Of Missing Concession Employee Found

Search teams from the park and Teton County Search and Rescue found the body of Aleksandr “Sasha” Sagiev, 20, of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, below Cache Couloir in Cache Gulch on Friday, August 22nd. He’d been the subject of a three-day-long search.

Sagiev, a seasonal employee of Dornan’s in Moose, Wyoming, was reported missing on the morning of Monday, August 18th. He had not been seen by coworkers since the previous afternoon.

The preliminary investigation and search focused on areas in and around Moose. New information received on Thursday afternoon indicated that Sagiev may have started a hike from Taggart Lake Trailhead around 9 a.m. on Monday. With a break in the inclement weather, an aerial search was conducted Thursday afternoon over Taggart and Delta lakes, but no sign of Sagiev was found.

Approximately 60 searchers gathered on Friday morning to explore areas where Sagiev may have hiked in the Tetons. For a second day, the weather was extremely rainy with dense clouds covering the Teton peaks.

Search teams found Sagiev’s body that afternoon in Glacier Gulch about a third of a mile west of Delta Lake.  He was declared dead at the scene by the searchers in consultation with the park’s medical director. The circumstances of Sagiev’s death are still under investigation. 

Sagiev was wearing the metallic blue “Sochi” jacket described in missing person flyers distributed to the public, which helped in locating his body in the rocky terrain.

Search for missing hiker – http://www.montereyherald.com/news/ci_26360398/dozen-search-and-rescue-teams-look-missing-hiker

Stranded couple rescued – http://fox13now.com/2014/08/17/search-and-rescue-crews-respond-to-couple-in-little-cottonwood-canyon/

Injured hiker rescued – http://www.coloradoan.com/story/news/local/2014/08/18/crews-rescuing-hiker-horsetooth-rock/14233905/

Scout leader rescued – http://www.good4utah.com/story/d/story/search-and-rescue-crews-called-out-to-rescue-boy-s/38803/3WcJVEN5okqZLMoiJDVzIw

Dehydrated hikers rescued – http://www.willcoxrangenews.com/news/article_12199054-27f1-11e4-b72e-001a4bcf887a.html

Injured hiker rescued – http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/442-transport-and-rescue-squadron-crew-come-to-the-aid-of-an-injured-hiker

SAR underway for missing camper –http://denver.cbslocal.com/2014/08/22/search-continues-for-aspen-woman-missing-since-sunday/

Climbing –

Stranded climbers rescued – http://www.castanet.net/news/Kamloops/121261/Busy-day-for-search-and-rescue

Stranded hiker rescued off cliff – http://www.dailybreeze.com/general-news/20140822/man-rescued-from-san-pedro-cliff-after-slipping-near-point-fermin-park

Injured climber rescued – http://globalnews.ca/news/1523812/busy-day-for-search-and-rescue-crews-at-local-hot-spots/

Hunter/Gatherer – 

Missing hunter found – http://www.good4utah.com/story/d/story/search-and-rescue-crews-looking-for-a-missing-hunt/22456/lIisYXVCdkq-GabpWXlI0g

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve (AK)
Rangers Assist In Treatment Of Poisoning Victim

On the night of Tuesday, August 12th, rangers responded to a mutual aid request made by the Alaska State Troopers. 

Gustavus Volunteer Fire Department’s EMS squad had responded to a 911 call regarding a 57-year-old emotionally disturbed woman who had ingested poisonous mushrooms and was refusing medical attention.  The Gustavus volunteers contacted the Alaska State Troopers office to request law enforcement assistance in order to place the patient under protective custody. 

Rangers responded and waited until the air ambulance flight crew arrived. They then conducted an Operational Leadership GAR assessment and executed a plan led by the flight nurse to restrain and sedate the woman in order to transport her to Juneau for further evaluation. The woman was flown to Juneau without further incident. 

The park had received a ‘be on the lookout’ call from the Alaska Regional Communication Center, advising that a welfare check on her was needed. According to the center, she’d arrived in Gustavus on the Alaska state ferry.

The woman’s lifelong partner said that she did this about once a year, and had once ended up under protective custody in Madagascar. Rangers were unaware that she had been staying at a private residence.

Watersports – 

Yellowstone National Park (ID,MT,WY)
Body Of Missing Concession Employee Found

The body of a young man missing in since the evening of Monday, August 11th, has been recovered.

Twenty-two year old Darien Latty had gone tubing Monday with friends on the Lamar River near Tower Junction. Shortly after reaching the point where the Lamar River flows into the Yellowstone River, his two companions managed to get to the river’s edge and get out of the much faster moving water.  Latty was last seen being swept downstream, separated from his inner tube and without a life jacket.

Search efforts began Monday evening.   At its peak, over 50 people were involved in the search, which included a helicopter, three dog teams, and several groups of searchers on foot.

Late last Friday, searchers spotted what they thought was a submerged body pinned to a large rock in a very steep and dangerous section of the Yellowstone River, about a quarter mile downstream from where Latty was last seen.

A swiftwater rescue team from Gallatin County, Montana, was called in on Saturday to navigate the river.  Using kayaks and a raft anchored to both banks of the river, they were able to dislodge and recover Latty’s body on Saturday afternoon.  A helicopter was utilized to remove his body from the remote area. 

The corner made a positive identification Saturday evening.

Latty, who was from northeastern Georgia community of Demorest, was in Yellowstone working as a summer seasonal employee at Roosevelt Lodge. An autopsy will be conducted to confirm the cause of death.

Floating the river is prohibited by park regulations.

Lake Mead NRA – NV, AZ
Search In Progress For Missing Swimmer

Rangers are searching for a missing 31-year-old Southern California man who was last seen in the water near Cottonwood Cove on Lake Mohave.

Just after noon on Saturday, August 16th, the park received a report that the man had jumped off a boat into the water, had begun struggling, and soon disappeared underwater. Witnesses said the victim was not wearing a life jacket.

Rangers, Nevada Department of Wildlife game wardens and employees from the nearby marina immediately began searching for the missing man, who is believed to be around 100 yards from the shoreline in an area that is 80 to 100 feet deep. The water in the area is usually clear, but visibility is currently very limited due to recent storms, making the search more challenging.

Crews are continuing to search the area. The incident is under investigation.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (AZ,UT)
Teenager’s Body Recovered From Lake Powell

Park dispatch received a 911 call reporting a missing swimmer near Bullfrog Marina around mid-afternoon on Thursday, August 14th.

Rangers immediately began a boat and air search of the area, continuing until it became dark. They resumed their efforts the next morning, joined by a park dive team.

The body of the 19-year-old, a Mexican national living in the Salt Lake City area, was recovered late that morning. He is presumed to have drowned.

The incident was jointly investigated by the National Park Service and Kane County Sheriff’s Office.

Injured beachcomber rescued – http://www.comoxvalleyecho.com/news/local/cfb-comox-crews-rescue-woman-from-remote-beach-1.1322818

Missing boaters rescued – http://www.grandforksherald.com/content/night-time-mission-rescues-2-adults-and-2-children-stranded-lake

Stranded rafters rescued – http://www.svherald.com/content/derek-jordan/2014/08/24/387790

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 – 6/1/14


Rocky Mountain National Park (CO)
Teenage Visitor Rescued From Ledge On Longs Peak

Samuel Frappier, a 19-year-old visitor from Quebec, was ascending Longs Peak with a friend on Tuesday when they became separated. As Frappier attempted to descend, he got himself stranded in an extremely precarious location on Broadway Ledge and called for help.

Although Frappier was reported to be fit, he had no technical climbing equipment and no experience as a mountaineer. He was also unprepared for a night on the mountain in snow and ice and near freezing temperatures.

A rescue operation was immediately launched. The park’s SAR team was joined in the effort by Rocky Mountain Rescue and a Teton Interagency helicopter. Nearly 30 people were committed to the operation.

Frappier was helped off the ledge, flown to an LZ in Upper Beaver Meadows, and taken to Estes Park Medical Center.

For additional details, see the news story and a minute-long video at the link below.


Another hiker stuck on a ledge – http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/central/provo/crews-rescue-hiker-in-rock-canyon/article_29d3a3d1-d453-51f6-a5f7-003f5b7c79cb.html

Six climbers missing on Mt. Ranier – http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/31/mount-rainer-six-lost-search-rescue-washington

Updated: All six presumed dead: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/05/31/six-climbers-reported-missing-on-mt-rainier-helicopter-search-launched/

Search conitinues for missing Alaska hiker – http://www.adn.com/2014/05/28/3491047/juneau-outdoorswoman-missing-since.html?sp=/99/188/

Missing rafter – http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.krextv.com/story/23-year-old-center-of-rafting-search-and-rescue-20140527

Stranded climbers rescued – http://www.summitdaily.com/news/11594314-113/climbers-summit-mount-rescue

Stranded and injured hikers rescued – http://www.summitdaily.com/news/11594314-113/climbers-summit-mount-rescue

Rafters capsize and rescued – http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.theprogress.com/news/260674771.html

Skiers rescued after triggering avalanche – http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://mtstandard.com/news/local/military-helicopter-rescues-skiers-in-highlands/article_7319d1d4-e502-11e3-b178-001a4bcf887a.html

Missing hikers rescued after night out – http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/2-San-Diego-Hikers-Missing-on-Mt-Baldy-260685831.html

Injured hiker rescued – http://www.kptv.com/story/25606535/search-and-rescue-respond-to-injured-hiker-in-the-gorge

Missing ATV rider located – http://www.castanet.net/news/Kelowna/115826/Okanagan-wilderness-rescue

Snowmobiler injured after driving off cliff – http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57987145-78/lake-helicopter-peck-able.html.csp

Whistlemania III – Slippery When Wet…


 If you are a boater, raft guide, lifeguard, sailor, swift water rescuer, or anyone that works around water, this episode is for you. I guess since 70 percent of the earth is covered by water, then this episode is really for everyone.

So crank up the Bon Jovi as our our gladiators hit the lake to find out which liked to wet their whistles and which ones needed water wings…

Test 1:  I pulled out my life jacket from my old raft guiding days, strapped it on, and went into the drink. The test was simple. Completely submerge and then see how many blasts it took to clear the whistle of water when I popped up.

Test 2: Some manufacturers boast that their whistle floats. I think this is a non issue, since it should be attached to your lifejacket by a lanyard. I tested them anyway.

Test 3: Some manufacturers claim their whistles work underwater.

According to http://www.stormwhistles.com/ “It’s patented design allows the Storm whistle to be heard up to fifty feet underwater, due to its unique sounding chamber forcing out all water when the whistle is blown.” 

I assume this is just boasting about the easy clearance as I am not aware of any practical value of underwater whistle blowing. Anyway, I went under and tried them out.


How did they do? Scroll on down to find your pick..


Jetscream Micro – 2 blasts to clear, floated, worked underwater

ACME 660 – 2 blasts to clear, floated, worked under water

Fox 40 Classic – 1 blast to clear, floated, worked under water

ACME Tornado 635 –  2 blasts to clear, floated, did not work underwater

Hammerhead – 1 blast to clear, floated, worked under water

Tin Whistle –  2 blasts to clear, sinker, did not work underwater

Fox 40 Mini – 1 blast to clear, floated, worked under water

AMK or SOL or Fox 40 Micro –  2 blasts to clear, floated, worked underwater

ACME Tornado 636 –  2 blasts to clear, floated, worked underwater

SOL Slim Rescue Howler –  2 blasts to clear, floated, worked underwater

ACR – 3 blasts to clear, floated, worked underwater


Coghlan’s 5 in 1 Survival Aid – 3 blasts to clear, floated, did not work underwater

Zipper Pull Whistle – 4 blasts to clear, sinker, did not work underwater

Coghlan’s 4 in 1 Whistle – 2 blasts to clear, sinker, did not work underwater

Sternum Strap Whistle – 2 blasts to clear, sinker, worked underwater

LMF Swedish Firesteel Army 2.0 –  4 blasts to clear, sinker, worked underwater


Windstorm – 1 blast to clear, floated, worked under water

Hammerhead Mighty – 1 blast to clear, floated, worked under water

Lifejacket Whistle – 3 blasts to clear, floated, worked underwater

FOX 40 Eclipse – 1 blast to clear, floated, worked under water

Storm – 1 blast to clear, floated, worked under water

Scotty Lifesaver – 1 blast to clear, floated, worked under water

ACME Tornado 2000 – 1 blast to clear, floated, worked under water

FOX 40 Sonic Blast – 1 blast to clear, floated, worked under water

UST Jetscream – 1 blast to clear, floated, worked under water

Whistles for Life – 2 blasts to clear, floated, worked underwater

Promo whistle –  2 blasts to clear, floated, worked underwater

FOX 40 Sharx – 1 blast to clear, floated, worked under water

ACME Cyclone 888 – 1 blast to clear, floated, worked under water

ACME 649 – 1 blast to clear, floated, worked under water

Test 1 Observations:

  • 1st blasters – Easy. The pealess, like the Fox series, seemed a little easier than versions with a pea
  • 2nd blasters – It wasn’t too hard to clear them. I wouldn’t discount a 2nd blaster
  • 3rd blasters – I found it funny that the “Lifejacket” whistle ended up here
  • 4th blasters – Both are multi-purpose and not likely to be your water rescue whistle


Test 2 Observations: 

  • Shame on you if your whistle is not tethered or clipped to your jacket as it could be dropped, swept away by the current, or waves.
  • Realistically, the sternum strap, zipper pull, and ferro rod striker are attached to something that may float or may sink


Test 3 Observations:

  • Both the Storm and the Windstorm did seem to perform best underwater. If you have gills then maybe these are the whistles for you.


Tune in next week to see how your pick fares..

If you are late to the party and need to catch up, click the following links;

Whistlemania I – https://bigpigblog.com/2014/05/05/whistlemania-i/

Whistlemania II – https://bigpigblog.com/2014/05/15/whistlemania-ii-the-iceman-cometh/