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Lost teens use cell phone during search and rescue

Missing hikers use cell phone to get help
Prineville 18-year-olds notify parents, searchers

Missing hikers in South Sister area relayed word of their location through cell phone's text messaging feature

From news sources
September 3, 2004

September 3 - Cell phones have played a key role in numerous successful searches and rescues in Central Oregon in recent years, but one happy ending Friday had a new twist: Two missing Prineville 18-year-olds, overdue from a hike up South Sister, used a phone’s “text message” capability to advise they were alright and their location.

A Deschutes County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue horse team located Cody D. Brockett and John Dunaway around 9:30 a.m. in the area of Obsidian Falls, west of the Pacific Crest Trail, said sheriff’s Sgt. Dan Swearingen. That ended a search which began Thursday afternoon and involved nearly two dozen people.

Sheriff’s Search and Rescue and Forest Service law enforcement and other personnel responded around 4 p.m. Thursday to the report of two overdue hikers in the South Sisters area, Swearingen said.

Authorities learned that five hikers had been en route to the summit of the 10,358-foot peak on Thursday when three decided to turn around due to the deteriorating weather conditions, Swearingen said. Two continued on to the summit and, after starting down, apparently lost the trail and became disoriented.

A total of 22 members of Search and Rescue, including those on the ground and two horse teams, searched trails in the Wickiup Plains, Green Lakes and Devils Lake areas until about 1 a.m. Friday. They resumed the search effort around 5 a.m., assisted by members of Eugene Mountain Rescue. The 1042nd Air Medical Group of the Oregon Air National Guard also was notified and later arrived in the area by Blackhawk helicopter to assist in the search.

Around 6 a.m., family members informed the searchers that the pair had been able to “text message” them by cell phone around 4:45 a.m. that they were alive and at Foley Junction, and to send help, Swearingen said. Further messages indicated they had located other hikers and were heading north toward Frog Camp/Obsidian Trailhead, off Highway 242 (the McKenzie Pass Highway).

A ground team and horse team were deployed from Obsidian Trailhead and found the pair, “in relatively good shape, considering the cold overnight weather conditions and being lightly dressed,” Swearingen said in a news release.

Swearingen reminded hikers to carry a map and compass and GPS (global positioning satellite) unit, as well as to “wear adequate clothing during this time of year, due to the extreme weather changes.”



Mountain climbing has inherent dangers that can, only in part, be mitigated

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Geocaching on Federal Forest Lands
OpEd - Geocaching should not be banned in the Badlands
Winter hiking in The Badlands WSA just east of Bend
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Geocaching: What's the cache?
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Geocaching: the thrill of the hunt!
GPS in the news
A GPS and other outdoor gadgets make prized gifts
Wanna play?  Maps show you the way
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