• Fisherman Found Near Forni Lake - 1995
On Sunday morning October 22, 1995 Search and Rescue teams were called out to look for a missing 21-year-old fisherman in Desolation Wilderness. Mounted, 4-Wheel Drive, Management and Sierra West teams participated.
The missing person, Jeremy, had driven up from Sacramento Saturday with his uncle, Greg, and a friend, Pat. They set up a base camp at Forni Lake in the morning, and then hiked into Highland Lake to fish. On the hike back that afternoon, Jeremy rushed ahead and was soon out of sight.
When Greg and Pat returned to their camp at Forni Lake, Jeremy was not there. The two waited for Jeremy to until long past dark, then Greg called his wife on a portable cellular phone. Greg's wife then called Jeremy's parents. Jeremy had apparently run off before and there was some doubt about whether he was really lost.
Eventually, someone called the Sheriff's Department. However, the facts were confused because Greg's cellular phone had now gone dead. Thus the Sheriff's Department still hadn't talked to the first-hand RP.
Nevertheless, Mounted, Sierra West, Search Management, CARDA and Four Wheel Drive teams gathered before dawn at a command post about 6 miles east of Ice House Road on Tell's Creek Road.
Teams faced cold temperatures and extremely strong wind. Even on the trip up Ice House Road, drivers had had to maneuver around trees blown down onto traffic lanes. Now, teams in the forest could hear falling limbs, and what sounded like entire trees. Often they were close by. A loud crack would be followed by a succession of crashes as the tree smashed to the ground.
Winds not only put searchers on the alert, but kept air reconnaissance on the ground. CHP Helicopter 20 tried twice to enter the area, only to be forced back by the high winds at all altitudes. It was deemed futile to call the Air Search Team.
About 0830 two foot teams arrived at Forni Lake (8000 feet) and met with Greg and Pat. The teams confirmed that Jeremy was still missing, and relayed an accurate description back to CP. From there the teams took Greg with them to Highland Lake where they had last seen Jeremy. One member escorted Pat back to the CP for an interview.
The search ended happily about 12 noon. Tom Feil and Candy White were riding their horses up Red Peak Trail about a mile south of Forni Lake. Near the wilderness boundary, Jeremy heard their calls and raced toward them, yelling and waving his arms. He was unhurt, although cold, and very glad to see his rescuers.
Jeremy reported that he had spent a cold night huddled in some rocks trying to stay out of the wind. He had a lighter with him but was afraid that if he started a campfire the wind would blow it into a forest fire. Instead, he tried to keep warm by tenting his shirt and lighting the lighter underneath it.
Although searchers are usually happy and relieved when a seach ends successfully, this incident made Candy White happier than most. She made this find on her first real search assignment, and she was nearly as excited as Jeremy.