Re: Wilderness First Aid (helicopter response to isolated areas)
Paul H. Brown (phbrown@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Fri, 16 May 1997 12:59:10 -0400
Another point regarding helicopters.
In 1974, my mother zigged when she should've zagged on a trail near
Gannet Peak in Wyoming's Wind River Mts. She was with a group of 10 or
so, but they were hiking back to the cars in groups of 3 or 4. She was
tired, so her group left her to walk with the next group coming. When
she felt rested, she started on her own. The later groups assumed she
was with an earlier group, and the earlier groups got in their cars and
went home when they reached the trailhead.
It took about 6 hours or so to determine that she wasn't with anyone in
Its now Sunday nite.
I don't know what the conversations were with the local civil
authorities, but the reaction was a shrug and a "hunters get lost all the
time. We find 'em in the spring." response. IOW, we don't look for lost
Monday through about Thursday there was an unorganized (private) search
by persons from her Salt Lake City home, including fixed-wing aircraft,
horse, and scouts. No results.
On Thursday, someone finally prevailed on the local Undersheriff to call
the airbase nearby (Cheyenne?). A helo was dispatched. I met it at a
pass at about the 11000 foot level. The crew wanted to know what they
were looking for. They'd one one pass over the area and had spotted what
appeared to be a blue tent. She had no blue tent with her.
The helo checked out the blue tent, which was my blue sleeping bag she'd
borrowed for the trip. (I was taking a bar exam that week, so missed the
trip. Hence my being on my way into the area on THursday.)
It took the helo crew an hour to do what upwards of 100 people hadn't
been able to accomplish in four days.
My vote is to call the helo. As soon as possible.
Yes. My mother was OK, although hungry.
No. She didn't backpack after that.
Paul HH. Brown, KD4UPD I
used to be an Antelope, WB
82-66 Pack Committee Chairman, Unit Commissioner, Roundtable Commissioner
George Washington District, National Capital Area Council, BSA
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City