Tag Archives: Search and rescue stories

TeamBUSAR.org…

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Three years ago I was at a crux. I had resigned from my backcountry law enforcement ranger position, found out we were having a baby, and started planning our move to North Carolina. I remember reading a text from my MMA coach that he sent out to the team about training and priorities. I was in Florida on vacation, and he was right. I realized that I could no longer dedicate the time and energy to that sport, with new priorities entering my life. I left the gym, leaving part of me behind.

The same was true of my LE Ranger position. While I will never regret my decision to leave, there was a part of my soul that missed the most rewarding facet of that job…

Search and rescue.

I have been extremely fortunate to have a career filled with adventure, but there has only been one time in all those years that emotion has swept over me so strongly, I had to walk away.

Ten years ago, I was on a search for two off-trail hikers on the Spruce Flats Falls manway. I was just getting into the law enforcement division, but got teamed up with “Rambo” Ricky Varner who knew the area like the back of his hand. We located the couple, who were forced to spend the night out, and walked them out to Tremont.

There, patiently waiting, was their family, and what ensued was one of the most tender reunions I have witnessed. They don’t always end that way, but reuniting a family with their missing loved one will move the most calloused soul.

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Photo credit: http://www.thegreatsmokies.net/spruce-flats-falls/

And so two years ago, fueled by a desire to be pushed by a group of hard-core guys, a penchant for the misery of off-trail rescues, and the aspiration to help others, I started recruiting a band of outdoor misfits to form an elite search and rescue team. Our mission would be simple. Prepare for the toughest missions the Smokies can offer..

  • Off-trail rescues
  • Extended carryouts
  • Winter rescues
  • Missing aircraft
  • Technical and swiftwater rescue

With the promise of bad weather, long hours, no pay, and dangerous work, they started to trickle in one by one. First an adventurer racer, then a paddler and climber, then a helicopter pilot, a doctor, a flight medic, a Special Forces veteran, a neuroscientist, another wildlife ranger, and the list went on.

Original flyer:

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As diverse as the crew was, they all had in common the desire to help others in need and the ability to push themselves physically and mentally to build a professional team.

Every week for two years, in every weather condition, we have met at a local park to workout together, carrying our SAR packs and kettlebells, pushing the levels of fitness higher and suffering through grueling fitness standards. Every month, the team has assembled for some form of training, be it technical, swiftwater, tracking, land navigation, wilderness medical, rescue swimming, working with K-9 teams, or just a tough off-trail scramble.

Leaving the comfort of our homes and families to respond to missions, we have carried out patients on the icy Appalachian trail. Rigged up ropes to haul the injured hikers up to safety. Searched for a downed plane during hypothermia inducing weather. Assisted with joint technical rescue training. Responded to many calls only to get cancelled en route when the victim walked out. Searched the dark trails for a missing hikers. Assisted in the body recoveries of recent fatalities. And taken vacation days and cancelled personal plans to respond when called.

The team did all this, and more, to be an asset to the Search and Rescue operations of Great Smoky Mountain National Park and help those in need. The park is working constantly to overcome staffing and budget challenges. We hope to help them by pre-deploying on high volume weekends and holidays, which will reduce our response time and allow us to assist with the P-SAR (Preventative Search & Rescue) program.

The BUSAR Team is the finest group of professionals I have ever worked with. They are my friends, my mentors, my teammates, and they have helped fill that tribal void in my life. I am proud of all they have accomplished and all that they will going forward.

So today I am announcing our team website, Team BUSAR, and the exciting news that we got our non-profit status. For the last two years, except for three donors, we have paid for everything out of our own pocket. Our gear, our training, gas, meals, etc. We have done all that because we desire to help.

Now we are asking for your help.

With over 11 million visitors to the Smokies, there is a good chance that you or someone you care about may need help out there at sometime, so please consider helping us by the following:

  1.  Jump onto our site and read the bios of this dedicated group of professionals
  2. Push this message, and our website, teambusar.org out on social media, hiking forums, email groups, and word of mouth. The more the better, as just that action may find us the help we need.
  3. Like us on Facebook, TeamBUSAR Facebook, and invite all your friends to do the same
  4. BUSAR is a 501(c)3 non-profit, so please consider donating if you are able –  Donate to BUSAR
  5. If you know someone who is looking for a charitable tax deduction, please send them our way.  I am more than happy to chat by phone or meet up to explain our vision. Our team not only has a worthwhile mission, but with half of the team being veterans, it makes a difference in their lives as well. Dusken’s experience
  6. If you are aware of any grants or foundations that are inline with our mission, please email us at  – busarfoundation@gmail.com

 

To date, the BUSAR project has been one of the most fulfilling chapters in my life. This team would have never started without the hard work and dedication of those on the team and their support of their families. To all those involved, current and former, I give thanks.

Thanks to Chief Ranger Steve Kloster, who has been advising me since it’s formation, along with Jared St. Clair, TN District Ranger, who took over the SAR Coordinator role. Thanks also goes out to all the members of the Smokies Tech Rescue team, Kevin Moses and the cadre of B-TRTE for tech training, Chuck Hester of BLRI, and Brian Osgood and the BCRS crew for loaning us equipment for swiftwater training.

What was birthed two years ago, is now starting to stand on its own two feet. The feet wear muddy boots, the bodies are now hardened by countless workouts and training missions, and the spirit stands by waiting for the call and ready to help. The path ahead of us is clear, we are prepared, and ready for the journey. We invite all of you to join us in this mission to help others, by helping us…

BUSAR!!

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Fall Foraging & Survival 101 Dates Announced…

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Old Man Winter called me today and said it’s time to get the schedule out..

Survival 101:

http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/survival-101-1.html

Fall foraging class will be Saturday, September 24th:

http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/poisonous–edible–medicinal—-useful-plants.html

 

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Survival Weekly – 1/12/16…

 

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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 i+n 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 – 

Woman lost for 5 days, rescued – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-13/woman-used-bush-craft-to-survive-5-days-lost-in-wilderness/7085780

Dog and visual tracking team rescue hunter – image above – http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11570510

First hand account of getting lost and rescued – http://www.12news.com/story/news/local/arizona/2016/01/11/exclusive-hiker-describes-being-lost-superstitions/78657372/

News – 

Busiest year for mountain SAR team – http://www.cumbriacrack.com/2016/01/05/2015-busiest-year-to-date-for-kendal-mountain-search-and-rescue-team/

Frosted Flier – http://www.bonnyvillenouvelle.ca/article/4-Wing-personnel-participate-in-cold-weather-survival-exercise-Frosted-Flier-20160112

Winter Safety – 

Ice fatality – http://www.oliverchronicle.com/oliverosoyoos-search-and-rescue-called-to-help/

Skier rescued – http://www.nelsonstar.com/news/364129261.html

Winter rescue – http://ktla.com/2016/01/10/woman-51-hospitalized-after-being-found-by-search-and-rescue-team-in-snow-covered-area-near-wrightwood/

Water Safety –

Coast Guard rescuer gets rescued – http://www.wect.com/story/30923613/coast-guard-member-loses-consciousness-during-search-and-rescue-mission

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image: http://www.nelsonstar.com/news/364129261.html

Hiking – 

Lost & Injured hikers rescued –

Hunter-gatherer – 

Duck hunter rescued – http://www.localmemphis.com/news/local-news/man-rescued-dog-missing-after-boat-capsizes

Climbing – 

Vehicles – 

 Stranded couple rescued – http://www.pqbnews.com/news/364255131.html

Boaters rescued – http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/community/beaufort-news/article54118225.html

Interested in learning skills to handle emergencies like the ones you read in Survival Weekly?  Check out BigPig Outdoors Survival  classes  – http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/survival-101-1.htm

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image:http://www.cumbriacrack.com/2016/01/05/2015-busiest-year-to-date-for-kendal-mountain-search-and-rescue-team/

Survival Weekly – 12/13/15…

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image: http://delrionewsherald.com/news/image_915b3640-9e99-11e5-8eb0-fb1523faf0ea.html

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 i+n 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 – 

Don’t be a Clark Griswold –  http://www.krcrtv.com/news/local/family-stranded-while-looking-for-christmas-tree-rescued/36863518

Rescue during a rescue training.. Happened to us at Deep Creek once – http://www.pamplinmedia.com/pt/9-news/285131-161812-lost-hiker-rescued-during-multnomah-county-sheriffs-office-search-exercises-

News – 

CAA fines rescue pilot –  http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11560797

Winter Sports – 

Missing snowboarders found – http://www.nelsonstar.com/news/361615161.html

SAR for missing snowmobiler –  http://www.edmontonsun.com/2015/12/09/search-and-rescue-looking-for-missing-drayton-valley-snowmobiler

Water Safety –

Skinny dippers rescued – http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/74773622/police-rescue-skinny-dipping-teens-from-nelson-beach

Body of swimmer recovered – http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/74783674/police-and-search-and-rescue-hunt-for-missing-teenage-swimmer-in-napier

Body of missing boater found – http://www.wfmynews2.com/story/news/local/2015/12/12/search-underway-missing-lake-wylie-boater/77203030/

SAR called off for missing swimmer – http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/coastguard-calls-search-man-spotted-10593596

Hiking – 

Lost & Injured hikers rescued –

 

santa
Image: http://www.ksby.com/story/30665325/man-and-dog-rescued-from-forest-near-santa-barbara-campground

Hunter-gatherer – 

Mushroom hunter found – http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2015/12/mushroom_picker_found_after_a.html

Missing hunter found – http://delrionewsherald.com/news/image_915b3640-9e99-11e5-8eb0-fb1523faf0ea.html

Missing logger found – http://www.thenewsguard.com/news/crash-otis-man-stranded-found/article_7b70a3d2-a1c9-11e5-a5d4-733c0185de24.html

Missing mushroom hunter found – http://kval.com/news/local/search-rescue-team-rescues-mushroom-picker-in-douglas-county-151207

Climbing – 

Vehicles – 

 Kayaker rescued – http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/74910950/search-and-rescue-mission-launched-to-retrieve-kayaker

Missing cargo plane found – http://www.northernlife.ca/news/localNews/2015/12/11-wasaya-flight-missing-sudbury.aspx

 

Interested in learning skills to handle emergencies like the ones you read in Survival Weekly?  Check out BigPig Outdoors Survival  classes  – http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/survival-101-1.htm

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image: http://www.halifaxcourier.co.uk/news/calderdale/busy-weekend-for-calder-valley-search-and-rescue-team-1-7610299

Survival Weekly -12/3/15

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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 i+n 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 – 

For Jackie!… Trackers follow missing hunter – http://www.bradfordera.com/news/search-continues-for-lost-hunter-in-cameron-county/article_ec77a99e-98a1-11e5-9ccf-ff16740f2ee4.html

News – 

Inside Oregon’s SAR program – http://katu.com/news/local/vast-majority-of-search-and-rescue-ops-done-by-volunteers

Winter Sports – 

Missing snowboarder rescued – http://www.castanet.net/news/Kelowna/152868/A-freezing-rescue

Water Safety – 

SAR for missing swimmer – http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/74523234/search-continues-in-raglan-for-missing-teen

SAR for missing boater – http://www.winknews.com/2015/11/28/crews-searching-for-missing-boater/

Missing sailor – http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/benoit-searched-for-near-bissett-lake-1.3348130

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Image: http://www.castanet.net/news/Kelowna/152868/A-freezing-rescue

Hiking – 

Lost & Injured hikers rescued –

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Image: http://www.voxy.co.nz/national/search-and-rescue-efforts-suspended-mt-cook/5/238486

Hunter-gatherer – 

Missing hunter rescued – http://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/local/2015/11/26/overdue-hunter-rescued-judith-basin-county/76425832/

Climbing – 

SAR suspended due to weather – http://www.voxy.co.nz/national/search-and-rescue-efforts-suspended-mt-cook/5/238486

Vehicles – 

 Stranded motorist rescued – http://www.mynews4.com/news/story/Man-and-five-children-rescued-by-Search-and/ZDyHbuVm_0mAMyIbHS_idw.cspx

Stranded motorists rescued – http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2015/11/30/jla-crews-rescue-2-snow-bound-vehicles-stranded-hiker/#.VmEQ03bnvIU

Interested in learning skills to handle emergencies like the ones you read in Survival Weekly?  Check out BigPig Outdoors Survival  classes  – http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/survival-101-1.htm

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Image: http://www.lex18.com/story/30619778/2-rescued-from-red-river-gorge

Survival Weekly – 11/26/15…

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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 i+n 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 – 

Moose hunters rescued (image above) –  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/moose-hunters-stranded-rescue-saskatchewan-hudson-bay-1.3329376

News – 

300 callouts in six months for helo base – https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/scotland/755481/rescue-helicopters-called-to-more-than-300-emergencies-in-north-in-just-six-months/

Winter Sports – 

Snowboarder rescued – http://fox13now.com/2015/11/18/search-and-rescue-dispatched-for-snowshoer-near-snowbird/

Water Safety –

Shark delays rescue team – http://www.vcstar.com/news/local/ventura/rescue-swimmers-search-for-missing-boater-after-vessel-capsizes-in-ventura-2502aff8-6057-27fc-e053-0-352471431.html

Divers rescued – http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/nine-scuba-divers-rescued-in-rough-seas-off-race-rocks-1.2111723

Body of swimmer recovered – http://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=11546488

SAR for surfer called off – http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/74357588/surfer-search-called-off

Hiking – 

Lost & Injured hikers rescued –

Hunter-gatherer – 

Search for missing hunter continues – http://poststar.com/news/local/search-resumes-for-missing-hunter-in-horicon/article_8a965a34-6ce3-5b7b-aaca-31c32f510566.html

Missing fisherman rescued – http://gazette.com/el-paso-county-search-and-rescue-looking-for-lost-fisherman-at-rampart-reservoir/article/1563852

Missing crabber – http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11549785

Missing hunter rescued – http://ravallirepublic.com/news/local/article_00ae8984-931e-11e5-8832-d3ea49bd9966.html

Hunter rescued – http://www.krtv.com/story/30609309/malmstrom-helicopter-crew-rescues-hunter-in-judith-basin-county

Climbing – 

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image: https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/scotland/755481/rescue-helicopters-called-to-more-than-300-emergencies-in-north-in-just-six-months/

Vehicles – 

SAR for missing boater – http://www.alaskapublic.org/2015/11/16/search-underway-for-missing-wrangell-boater/

Stranded motorists rescued – http://www.koaa.com/story/30544973/el-paso-county-search-and-rescue-crew-travels-to-help-stranded-motorists-in-prowers-county

Body of missing jet skier recovered – http://abc7news.com/news/search-underway-for-missing-jet-skier-in-napa-river/1091112/

Cruise ship passengers rescued – http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/Video-Royal-Navy-RAF-rescue-passengers-abandon/story-28205793-detail/story.html

Sightseeing helicopter crashes – http://www.9news.com.au/world/2015/11/21/11/20/helicopter-carrying-seven-people-crashes-at-new-zealand-fox-glacier

Interested in learning skills to handle emergencies like the ones you read in Survival Weekly?  Check out BigPig Outdoors Survival  classes  – http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/survival-101-1.htm

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image: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/nine-scuba-divers-rescued-in-rough-seas-off-race-rocks-1.2111723

Survival Week-and-a-halfly – 11/15/15..

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Image: http://www.wyofile.com/column/backcountry-zero-aims-reduce-deaths-tetons/

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 – 

First person account of getting lost – http://astructureforspirit.com/2015/11/08/search-resuce-and-a-million-miracles-in-between/

News – 

Tetons launches “Backcountry Zero” – http://www.wyofile.com/column/backcountry-zero-aims-reduce-deaths-tetons/

New Hampshire “Hike Safe” card update –  http://www.newhampshire.com/article/20151115/NEWHAMPSHIRE03/151119499/0/NEWHAMPSHIRE09

Winter Sports – 

Sier rescued – http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/rescue-crews-airlift-skier-after-backcountry-accident/36393530

Water Safety –

Missing kayakers found safe – http://www.carmarthenjournal.co.uk/Rescue-mission-kayakers-Towy/story-28175020-detail/story.html

Hiking – 

Trail runner rescued – http://koin.com/2015/11/05/angels-rest-trail-runner-found-by-search-rescue-team/

Hiker killed in fall – http://www.valleyrecord.com/news/340005191.html

Lost & Injured hikers rescued –

Hunter-gatherer – 

Missing lion hunter found – http://thesheridanpress.com/?p=44484

Missing hunters found – http://www.torontosun.com/2015/11/12/police-rescue-groups-searching-in-northern-new-brunswick-for-missing-hunters

Duck hunter rescued – http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/coast-guard-rescues-stranded-duck-hunter-from-nisqually/

Body of fisherman recovered – http://www.news4jax.com/news/jacksonville-fire-and-rescue-are-searching-st-johns-river-for-missing-boater/36273170

Missing fishermen found – http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/news/73748939/Fishermen-found-near-Fairlie-after-going-missing

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Image: http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/rescue-crews-airlift-skier-after-backcountry-accident/36393530

Climbing – 

Late yesterday, November 8, Rocky Mountain National Park rangers were notified by cell phone from a man indicating that he and his 13-year-old son needed assistance.  They had summited Longs Peak via the Keyhole Route. They attempted to come down from the summit via Clark’s Arrow.  The two got off route descending from The Loft between Longs Peak and Mount Meeker.

Rocky Mountain National Park Search and Rescue members reached them at 10:40 p.m.  After assessing their condition and evacuation options, they assisted the two down The Loft reaching a backcountry shelter near Chasm Lake at 2:00 a.m. this morning, where they connected with other members of the park’s Search and Rescue team.  They stayed through the night and all began hiking out this morning.  It is estimated they will reach the Longs Peak Trailhead at 10:30 a.m.

The two are from Loveland, Colorado.  Because one is a juvenile, park staff will not be releasing their names.

Injured climbers rescued –

Vehicles – 

SAR for missing helicopter crew – http://www.firstpost.com/india/pawan-hans-chopper-crash-chances-of-pilots-survival-bleak-as-search-operation-continues-2497186.html

 

Interested in learning skills to handle emergencies like the ones you read in Survival Weekly?  Check out BigPig Outdoors Survival  classes  – http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/survival-101-1.htm

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Image: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/not-very-well-prepared-what-hikers-rescued-in-b-c-did-wrong-1.2642150