• Mosquito SAR - 2009
On October 10, 2009, a 62-year-old male went for a walk along the South Fork of the American River in the Mosquito area. He planned to return home before dark by accessing the Mosquito Bridge and following a paved road to his home.
He was reported missing by family. The subject was unable to complete his walk due to the very steep canyon walls. He spent the night on a rock in the river. In the morning, limited resources (Foot, Dog teams) were deployed. CHP H-20 helicopter spotted him after daybreak. Using a one-skid landing, the subject was rescued. One dog team found itself in a similar predicament.
With the help of a local person knowing a "secret path" and OHV teams, the dog team was guided out of the canyon and returned to CP by OHV.
SAR 007 said:
The power-on one-skid rescue of the subject was a precision job by the crew of H-20. The radio traffic ("Forward two, one, HOLD. Left three, two one, HOLD your hover") revealed just how tight the quarters were.
The aforementioned dog team, however, provided the challenge of the day. Brady, Chris, and Chris's dog Radek did a commendable job finding the trail left by the subject as he slipped and slid into the canyon. But once in the bottom of the 800-foot gorge they found themselves unable to go upstream, downstream, or back up the steep sides of the canyon wall.
By this time the helicopter had lifted the subject out and left for home. Brady, Chris, and Radek, already soaked and cold from crossing and recrossing the river, were having no luck finding a way out. Deputy James Morgan, the IC, had prevailed on H-20 to come back when the good samaritan neighbor showed up.
SAR 362 said:
Response to the callout was limited. Linda did an excellent job with planning and assignments. I handled maps and communications. We had two teams doing assignments. A search around the house and along the road and open areas near the house did not reveal any clues. One team tried to search the fence line north of the house, but could not see much and was stymied by dense brush. A wider search along roads and an evacuation route were also unfruitful. A foot team followed a game trail SE of the residence and encountered some recent-looking tracks, but they disappeared after a short distance. Our two teams rested and we made plans for morning.
As it began to get light after 0600 Sunday, more support arrived (and the comm van). Two dog teams began following a line that led to the tracks discovered Saturday night. An OHV team deployed to the south side of the river to view the river and north bank. It was about then that H20 spotted Lee.
Chris and Radek could not get back up the steep slope to the house, so they had to proceed down to the river (following the same track Lee did) and navigate some difficult obstacles before meeting up with an OHV transport. It was slow going, but we got everyone back and had lunch at Mel's.
Thanks to everyone who responded!