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Friday, April 6, 2012

Some Tough Rescue-ees in the News

The odds may have been against these folks, but they survived. Here are some Search and Rescue stories--some recent, some not--with rather surprising happy endings. These are great examples of why searchers should never assume that a subject is definitely deceased, even if the likelihood seems high.

Former Marine Found After 2 Days in the Oregon Snow

37 year-old Jason Cooper had been involved in a minor, low-speed fender-bender on Highway 138D, which cuts through Umpqua National Forest, when he was seen by the other driver run off through the snow into the woods. Cooper was wearing shorts and sandals.

Law enforcement followed the man's tracks in snow that was 2 feet deep, but they had to suspend the search at dark.  Police became more concerned when they learned that Cooper suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.  

Read the whole article on PoliceBlogger.com


Swedish Man Survives Two Months in Snow-Buried Car

The 45-year-old from southern Sweden was found emaciated and too weak to utter more than a few words.  The temperature in the area had recently dropped to -22F (-30C).  He was located not far from the city of Umea in the north of Sweden by snowmobilers who thought they had come across a car wreck until they dug their way to a window and saw movement inside.

Read the story on MSNBC.


Swiss National Survives Three Cold Nights Stuck in an Arizona Canyon

He'd heard about Waterholes Canyon, which leads down to the Colorado River in Grand Canyon, from someone on a tour the previous day and thought he'd give it a try. Being an experienced climber, he apparently wasn't concerned about getting back up after going down. And when he found ropes already set up at the first couple of rappels, left behind by other canyoneers, he figured (he later said) the ropes would continue all the way to the bottom. They did not. And whether he knew about the 400-foot rappel along the way, I don't know.

Well, things didn't go as expected. The man ended up stranded deep in the canyon, with an ankle injury and rope burns on both hands, through a wet winter storm, wearing shorts, missing his socks, and without food and water.

Read more about the mission on my blog, Deb's Search and Rescue Stories.


Hiker Missing for Almost a Month Found in New Mexico

A female hiker and her cat had been reported missing more than two weeks before the search actually began. She was eventually found, emaciated and malnourished, in her sleeping bag in a rugged National Forest. (The cat survived, too.)

Read the story on USA Today and watch this video about the story...



Two Hikers Survived Seven Weeks in South American Jungle

The hike was supposed to last for ten days. Instead, two 34-year-old Frenchmen survived on seeds, frogs, turtles, beetles and tarantulas for seven weeks. The search had been suspended after three.

Read the story on Journal Peru.


Woman Survives 7 Weeks in Remote Area of Nevada

You probably heard about this one. The woman and her husband were driving from British Columbia to Las Vegas, following the directions of a GPS ... blindly so it seems. The husband left the stranded van after a few days in an attempt to get help. He has not been seen since, but he wife miraculously survived.

Read the story on Reuters.


Injured British Hiker Survives Week-Long Ordeal Stranded in New Zealand Wilderness

A 33-year-old man spends 8 days in the backcountry after a fall down a 15-foot cliff, with a broken ankle and gash in his thigh.

Read the story on Mail Online.


Severely Injured Woman Survives Four Days and Nights in The Sierras

Amy Racina was hiking in a remote part of King's Canyon National Park in California when she lost the trail and suddenly fell sixty feet, breaking both legs. She battled pain, fear and exhaustion, pulling herself along with her hands and refusing to give up. Amy was saved when her calls heard by a man who was partially deaf.

Read the full story in Amy's book, Angels in the Wilderness, available in hard cover, paperback and on Kindle.

Have you ever been involved with or know of a search for someone who'd been missing for an extended period of time but was found alive? If so, please share it here in the guestbook.