Tag Archives: swiftwater rescue

Oh Snap!..BUSAR June Update


Team Workouts

It’s heating up, the sweat is pouring

Ski’s working hard, Doc finds it boring

As tough as  iron, as strong as steel

He shrugs off pain, that others may feel

At seventy four, the Legend rolls on

An inspiration to all, when your motivation is gone

It may be hot, it may be cold

But Doc Miller shows Cobras, that you are never too old!!




June was a busy month. We started out with an in-house technical day at the beginning of the month at Lookrock, focusing on anchor systems, rappelling, and ascending.


Mid-June was a training weekend with Black Diamond team out of Virginia. Doc Cobra sent an awesome write up of attending their vertical rescue training with four other team members, so I will just post that in it’s entirety..

AAR Black Diamond Vertical Rescue Training Week 1
BUSAR was well represented at Vertical Rescue Training Week 1, the first of four monthly 16 hour sessions based on the Virginia Department of Emergency Management Wilderness Rescue Technician (WRT) Standard. The training site is Backbone Rock in Shady Valley, TN, just south of Damascus, VA. The Lead Instructors were Billy Chrimes (VDEM Training Specialist and Deputy SAR Coordinator), Bryan Saunders(VP Virginia SAR Council and original BD SAR Coordinator) Mike Maggard (Black Diamond SAR Coordinator and past Training Officer), Rob Blevins (BD Training Officer), Bob Barlow (Black Diamond Life Member, Encyclopedia and Guardian of the Culture) and Victoria Airey from the Baltimore area who brings an equal wealth of knowledge and experience in cliff/cave Vertical Rescue Techniques as well as Certification and extensive training in Professional Rope Access (SPRAT, industrial high angle rescue) . They were assisted by a host of other superb Black Diamond veterans. Five Cobras attended: Geist, Sharbel, Jutkofsky, Lewis and Miller. Three worked on Advanced Rope Techniques (ART) skills and two worked on Basic Rope Techniques (BRT) skills.
Subject matter included knots and their proper utilization, tied redundant harness, rope calls, semi-tech rope movement on “scree” slope, ascending, descending, rigging, anchors, hauling and lowering systems. The Instructors are extremely accessible and eager to share (and learn) new information at all times  After hours were spent sport climbing on The Rock and socializing around the campfire where additional learning continued, embellished by tall tales of harrowing true-life (and death) experiences. Black Diamond walks the walk (Rocks the Rock), not just talks the talk!  The weather was great and we completed a full and busy 16 hours of training.
Students climbed and rappelled in a variety of harnesses (tied, climbing, caving, rescue) on a variety of systems (Frog, Knots, free / Munter, Rescue 8, Brake bar rack) from both high rigged points and low ones (sharp edges) over a variety of edges (against the vertical wall [crossing Velcro inline rope guards] and away from the undercut face).
Everyone gained new knowledge, experience and friends, at no cost (other than transportation), from highly professional and competent instructors with years of real-world cliff and cave rescue experience who gave freely, generously and selflessly of their time and talent, “that others (especially rescuers) may live”.  Don’t miss out on this great opportunity if you can help it!  We owe a great debt of gratitude to Black Diamond and VDEM.
I have reserved camping in Site 7, July 8-9 and Site 5, August 19-20. The Black Diamond Annual Cookout will be after training Saturday August 20. Their final formal vertical training of the year will be September 10-11.
That others may live!
TARS Swifwater I class – Ocoee, TN
Seven of us got to attend Swiftwater I class on the Ocoee this month. It has been almost 20 years since I started guided down there in college and after the class on Sunday, we ran a trip for fun and old times sake. Great class with lots of time in the water and very little down time.
Day 1 was a half day of classroom lecture
Day 2 was self-rescue techniques, eddy swims, rescue wading, and throw bag rescues
Day 3 finished out the course with strainer bar, tension diagonals, rope launching techniques, and foot entrapments
Responses – 
            Laurel Falls – Herrington 2:1 low angle haul and carryout for the broken ankle pictured above. Ankle picture courtesy of Tammy “Tough As Nails” Siler. Her sister is tough too!
  • Jake Bezahler – wilderness therapy guide out of Waynesville
  • Received another donation for gear. Finishing out helmet purchases and some gear for training

Survival Weekly – 10/1/14…


Featured – I have a couple articles in the works, so these two are timely..

Fatal bear attack – http://www.nj.com/passaic-county/index.ssf/2014/09/bear_that_killed_edison_man_had_no_history_of_aggression_officials_say.html

Got Epi? – http://www.conwaydailysun.com/newsx/local-news/116716-bee-sting-leads-to-hiker-rescue-on-mt-washington

And since my buddies and I have been riding a lot lately… ATV rider spends night out – http://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/2437155-151/atv-rider-spends-night-outdoors?entryType=0

News – 

Drone owners still fighting to help SAR – http://www.businessinsider.com/civilians-with-drones-lead-charge-in-search-and-rescue-2014-9

NH recovers costs for SAR operations –  http://www.unionleader.com/article/20140928/NEWHAMPSHIRE03/140929141

Urban – New category for the fine men of T-WERM

Alzheimer’s patient tracked with telemetry – http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Old-school-technology-helps-locate-missing-Alzheimers-patient-276404411.html

Crews search for hospital walk out – http://wkbn.com/2014/09/26/search-teams-will-unite-to-look-for-missing-man/

Search for missing teen – http://globalnews.ca/news/1549318/burnaby-rcmp-looking-for-missing-man/

Hiking – 

United States Park Police
Crew Of Eagle Two Makes Two Same-Day Rescues

On September 1st, USPP Lieutenant Simeon Klebaner and Ranger Michelle Schonzeit went hiking on Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park when they came upon a severely injured hiker.

While attempting to help the hiker out of the backcountry, they became concerned that wet terrain and potential storms would impede them in their efforts and might also cause additional injury to the victim. Klebaner accordingly contacted the Park Police Aviation Unit and asked for a helicopter extrication.

Pilot Officer Evasick and Rescue Technicians Sergeant Tolson and Sergeant Robbins responded in Eagle Two and conducted a hoist rescue of the injured hiker.

Once the injured hiker was safely delivered to the hospital, U.S. Park Police units responded to a call of an injured 12-year-old with a traumatic leg injury on the Billy Goat Trail at Great Falls Park. Eagle Two headed to that location, where they mad another hoist rescue.

The Aviation Unit has completed 16 hoist rescues since this past January, surpassing 2013’s ten hoist rescues conducted throughout the course of the year.

Grand Canyon National Park (AZ)
Hiker Dies On North Kaibab Trail

On the afternoon of Friday, September 19th, park dispatch received a 911 call from a visitor reporting that a hiker had fallen and was having trouble breathing.

Park rangers responded by helicopter and found the man about a half mile below Ribbon Falls on the North Kaibab Trail. A park EMT and two medics were inserted and assisted with CPR, which was already in progress. All efforts to resuscitate the man proved unsuccessful.

Michael Sperry, 46, of Valparaiso, Indiana, had been on a rim-to-rim extended day hike with his two brothers when he collapsed. Witnesses, who began CPR, reported an immediate loss of consciousness from which he never recovered. CPR efforts continued for over an hour before he was pronounced dead.

His body was flown to the South Rim and then transported to the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office in Flagstaff for an autopsy.

Boulder traps hiker, technical rescue ensues – http://www.kboi2.com/news/local/Idaho-hiker-rescued-after-getting-leg-stuck-under-massive-boulder-275998711.html


Family rescued of peak – http://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/2436066-151/family-hiking-south-sister-assisted?entryType=0

Missing hiker rescued – http://www.edmontonsun.com/2014/09/23/helicopter-squadron-rescues-injured-hiker-southwest-of-edmonton

Missing hiker found – http://www.turnto10.com/story/26618377/ri-man-missing-on-hike-in-wyoming-forest

Injured hiker rescued – http://www.timescolonist.com/helicopter-team-rescues-woman-who-fell-on-west-coast-trail-1.1389328

Hikers trapped by volcano rescued – http://www.toledoblade.com/World/2014/09/27/Abe-orders-military-rescue-of-hikers-trapped-by-erupting-volcano.html

Injured hiker rescued – http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Air-unit-helps-rescue-two-lost-hikers-277342281.html

Injured hiker rescued – http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Injured-walker-carried-Dartmoor-search-rescue/story-23014253-detail/story.html

Stranded hikers rescued – http://www.scsun-news.com/silver_city-news/ci_26630352

Climbing – safe and sound this week

Watersports – 

Gauley River National Recreation Area (WV)
Injured Boaters Evacuated During Gauley Fest Weekend

Rangers responded to a flurry of injured whitewater boaters requesting evacuation from the Gauley River last Saturday morning.

At the time, a number of rangers were already committed to handling the large volume of boater traffic that was headed into the Tailwaters parking area and boat launch. Within a span of about ten minutes, rangers were advised of three injured boaters needing attention.

Off-duty ranger Stan Wilson responded from his nearby residence and coordinated the evacuation of two boaters from the confluence of the Gauley and Meadow Rivers along with members of the Ansted VFD and a local ambulance service.

Both boaters were commercial rafting company customers. One was suffering from a knee injury believed to be a dislocation, and the other was suffering from a probable broken femur. Both injuries were stabilized on site. Wilson then used the parks UTV to transport them to waiting ambulances which took them to local hospitals. A third boater with a minor injury walked out without NPS assistance.

Gauley River rafting season visitation peaked on Saturday, September 20th, during the Gauley Fest weekend, an American Whitewater-sponsored paddling festival believed to be the largest such festival in the world. There are three weekends left in the season, which ends October 19th.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (MI)
Rangers Respond To Diving Emergency

On September 18th, the Coast Guard in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, received a call for assistance from the research vessel David Boyd, which was inspecting a newly-discovered shipwreck in Lake Superior. The captain declared a SCUBA emergency and requested medical assistance for a 64-year-old diver who had ascended too quickly from a 220-foot-deep dive.

The nearest Coast Guard vessel was five hours away, so assistance was sought from rangers in Grand Marais, Michigan.  Rangers Shaun Hughes and Matt Davis responded in the park boat along with members of the Burt Township ambulance corps and the local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

After battling waves up to six feet high, rangers made contact with the David Boyd approximately eight miles offshore of Grand Marais.  Park and local EMTs boarded the research vessel and found the diver to be suffering from probable decompression sickness – he was weak and lethargic and unable to move or bear weight on his legs.

EMTs continued treatment as the ailing diver was transported to a waiting Valley Med Flight helicopter at the Grand Marais harbor.  He was then transported to a hyperbaric chamber in Marquette, Michigan, where he is still undergoing treatment.  Other assisting agencies included the Alger County Sheriff’s office, Burt Township Fire Department and USCG Air Station Traverse City.

Missing kayaker found safe – http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/wakefield-kayaker-safe-after-massive-search

Father drowns during rescue attempt of son – http://www.iol.co.za/dailynews/news/father-drowns-attempting-to-rescue-son-1.1755513#.VCxTIfnIL58

Search underway for missing boater –  http://mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2014/9/28/missing_boater_edgew.html

Divers rescued – http://www.wptv.com/news/region-s-palm-beach-county/boynton-beach/3-divers-rescued-by-coast-guard-off-boynton-inlet

Hunter/Gatherer – 

Ozark National Scenic Riverways (MO)
Rangers Respond To Multiple Incidents

Park staff were involved in several incident responses over a three-day period last week, including a technical rescue coordinated by the park’s SAR Team (Ozark NSR Hellbenders) and a boating accident resulting in a fatality.

Early on the afternoon of September 17th, rangers were notified of the need for a possible rescue in the Blair’s Creek area for a 22-year-old man who’d fallen from a cliff. Knowing this area was extremely remote and hard to access, rangers responded with technical rescue equipment.  They attempted to gain additional information while en route to determine if this incident was inside the park, but were only able to determine that the victim was unconscious and located about “100 feet up the hill.”  Lack of a specific location and deteriorating weather conditions due to localized heavy rain indicated multiple possibilities for access and extrication of the victim.  Additional rangers with rescue boats, ATVs, and four wheel drive vehicles were dispatched to the area.

Rangers Chris Figge and Nick Money first arrived on scene and determined the incident was on private property about a quarter mile from the park’s boundary.  The injured man was unconscious and non-responsive. Local first responders and rangers were able to reach him by walking in. Due to the muddy conditions and the treacherous terrain, a decision was made to lower him to the ground (approximately 50 feet below), which could be accessed by vehicles. Responders packaged and lowered him to Reynolds County paramedics, who took over patient care. The man remains hospitalized.

At the time of the incident, a film crew from Animal Planet was on site filming for an upcoming reality TV show called “Emerald Earth” which features “Homesteaders.”  They were filming the residents in a privately owned cave.  The victim was climbing the bluff outside the cave when he fell approximately 50 feet. Figge was IC for the incident.

Just after 11 p.m. on September 20th, rangers were notified of a boating accident that had resulted in a drowning of a 74-year-old local man. An off-duty state trooper who was on scene reported that a boat had capsized after hitting a log while gigging (fishing) and that four people were in the water.

Other giggers and campers attempted to reach the scene, but access was difficult. Twenty minutes passed before they were able to rescue three of the four from the cold waters of the Current River. The fourth person was located on the bottom of the river in a deep hole at the base of a root wad.

Several attempts were made to recover the victim, but were not successful due to the depth of the water. The first arriving ranger was advised that the victim had been recovered and was being transported by boat a short distance to the Pin Oak Campground. The investigation remains open and is being conducted in cooperation with the Missouri Highway Patrol. Lindel Gregory was the incident commander.

Search continues for missing bowhunter – http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2014/09/columbia_county_authorities_co.html

Vehicles – 

Everglades National Park (FL)
Pilot Makes Emergency Landing In Shark Valley

During the morning of August 9th, the pilot of a small airplane had to make an emergency landing on the Shark Valley Tram Road due to a possible engine failure.

Three men from the ages of 25 to 30 on board. The men, each of whom had a private airline license, were practicing for their commercial license by doing several maneuvers. They were heading back to the Tamiami Airport when the plane lost power over the Everglades.

The pilot said that he had visited Shark Valley about a month earlier and remembered the paved road there. He was attempting to land on the popular West Road, but saw visitors walking and biking there so maneuvered the aircraft to the relatively unpopulated East Road. He was able to make the emergency landing by briefly touching the plane down on the road before it went off into the Everglades sawgrass.

Everglades rangers and Miami-Dade County and Miccosukee units all responded. There were no injuries.

The plane was removed without complications following a NEPA review to determine the safest method to prevent damage to the natural and cultural resources in the area.

Joshua Tree National Park (CA)
Search In Progress For Missing Woman

On Monday, September 8th, Nola Taylor, 84, left the Hi-Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree, en route to her quilting class at the Yucca Valley Community Center. She never arrived there.

Taylor’s vehicle was discovered by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department on Friday, September 12th, after her son reported her missing. The car appeared to have become disabled while turning around on a life estate private road in the park.

The sheriff’s department started an immediate search of the area using patrol personnel, aircraft, bloodhounds, and their own search and rescue teams. They did not realize at the time that this was an obscure portion of the park, but upon notification began cooperative efforts with park staff.

Rangers and volunteers from the park’s SAR team, JOSAR, are coordinating search activities with the sheriff’s department on both sides of the park boundary. Taylor has still not been located.

Dozens of vehicles stuck at event – http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/58461543-78/county-tooele-mud-stuck.html.csp

Road collapses, swiftwater recue follows –  http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2014/09/28/swiftwater-team-rescues-italian-couple-from-river-after-road-collapse/

Injured ATV rider rescued – http://www.lakecountrycalendar.com/news/277463841.html