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#199083 - 03/28/10 01:17 AM Recent Signal Mirror Successes - more wanted
rafowell Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 225
Loc: Southern California
I'm trying to collect recent (e.g., since 1980 or so) cases where signal mirrors were successfully used to rescue people. I've appended the solid ones I have from the last five years.

If anyone knows of ones I missed (back to 1980 or so), please post in this thread. (or send me a private message, if you are shy). Please include any details that might help me convince a skeptical reader of their authenticity.

If you can point to a newspaper article with enough specificity that I can get a copy by interlibrary loan, that would be great. The date, number of people involved, type of mirror and aiming method, group signaled to, and reason electronic signaling was unsuccessful, are all of interest.

To my mind, avoiding trouble in the first place, and having electronic signaling that does work, are priorities ahead of the signal mirror, but since the mirrors fascinate me, and seem to have been neglected, I thought I'd pull the information together.

========================================================
Recent Signal Mirror Rescues

Here are 4 documented cases from the last five years where
(a total of) eight people were carrying signal mirrors and did use
them to get rescued. I've also included the reported reasons
why their electronic signaling devices failed them.
Obviously, precluding the electronic failures would have
worked out better for them.

2009/08/12
Two lost hikers signal a National Guard helicopter in Colorado
(Cell phones left at campsite)
http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_13049375
http://www.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_13044496#ixzz0crePSYRM

2007/04/19
One injured hiker signals an Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter
(satellite phone taken out by fall that broke his knee)
http://www.azcentral.com/community/scottsdale/articles/0419hiker0419-ON.html

2005/06/10
Three boaters adrift in the Gulf of Mexico signal a passing ship
(drifted out of cell phone range, no VHF radio)
http://www.floatplancentral.org/library/TalesOfThePlan07.htm

2005/05/17
Two stranded boaters signal a NYPD helicopter
(Cell phones out of charge)
http://www.sailingbreezes.com/Sailing_Breezes_Current/articles/June05/quickthinking.htm

======= older, but notable =============
1989/11/27
Five youths stuck in snow signal rescue aircraft in Washington State
http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=9hoaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=YyQEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3169,7828728


Edited by rafowell (03/28/10 05:35 AM)
Edit Reason: added 1989 incident
_________________________
A signal mirror should backup a radio distress signal, like a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB) (Ocean Signal PLB)

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#199095 - 03/28/10 02:39 AM Re: Recent Signal Mirror Successes - more wanted [Re: rafowell]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7073
Loc: southern Cal
Do you have one from Tucson, Arizona from around 1980? A party of hikers successfully initiated a rescue by signaling from the front range of the Catalinas. I am very sketchy on the details since I did not participate in that particular operation, but we could reach someone who would have the information.
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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#199096 - 03/28/10 02:47 AM Re: Recent Signal Mirror Successes - more wanted [Re: rafowell]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1394
Loc: Cranbrook BC (Finally)
Not sure if you have seen this story from 2005

Hiker Gilbert Dewey Gaedcke's trip to paradise included a brush with death after he lost his way on a lava field near Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano.

Gaedcke was rescued after five days when Peter Frank, a teenager on a helicopter tour, spotted him. CNN's Carol Costello spoke Tuesday with Gaedcke and Frank about the ordeal.
_________________________
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

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#199099 - 03/28/10 03:42 AM Re: Recent Signal Mirror Successes - more wanted [Re: hikermor]
rafowell Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 225
Loc: Southern California
No, I don't have the ~1980 Tucson one - info would be welcome.

Thanks!
_________________________
A signal mirror should backup a radio distress signal, like a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB) (Ocean Signal PLB)

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#199100 - 03/28/10 03:44 AM Re: Recent Signal Mirror Successes - more wanted [Re: Teslinhiker]
rafowell Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 225
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: Teslinhiker
Not sure if you have seen this story from 2005
<snip>

Gaedcke was rescued after five days when Peter Frank, a teenager on a helicopter tour, spotted him. CNN's Carol Costello spoke Tuesday with Gaedcke and Frank about the ordeal.[/i]


No, I didn't, thanks!
_________________________
A signal mirror should backup a radio distress signal, like a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB) (Ocean Signal PLB)

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#199107 - 03/28/10 09:09 AM Re: Recent Signal Mirror Successes - more wanted [Re: rafowell]
MDinana Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2186
Loc: Bluegrass
A fast google did NOT turn up any support, but about 1992-3, when I was at a BSA camp, one of the kids went out at night. Reportedly, the helo found him the next morning after he used the reflector from his flashlight to signal the chopper. I'll see sometime later if I can find documentation.

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#199110 - 03/28/10 02:09 PM Re: Recent Signal Mirror Successes - more wanted [Re: rafowell]
Teslinhiker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1394
Loc: Cranbrook BC (Finally)
Here is another news article for your collection. Although the article is centered on the performance of a helicopter for rescue, there is mention of a person using a signal mirror to attract the flight crew attention.


Below, Anderson saw the aircraft and heard its familiar mechanical whine. But he thought they didn’t see him, so he used a signal mirror to get their attention.

“The helicopter was about 1,500 feet below us and there were other hikers waving at it just to say hello,” he said. “I was afraid the crew would be distracted, so I used a signal mirror to get their attention while I called the Coast Guard again on my cell phone.”
_________________________
Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

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#199171 - 03/29/10 04:53 AM Re: Recent Signal Mirror Successes - more wanted [Re: Teslinhiker]
rafowell Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 225
Loc: Southern California
Thanks, MDinana - hope you can find more on that.
Good catch, Teslinhiker - I'm glad you found that one.

I expect that cell phones, VHF/ham radios and EPIRB/PLBs are saving more people these days.

I found this scorecard for EPIRB/PLBs: http://www.sarsat.noaa.gov/

In the United States, in 2009, for PLBs alone:
33 people rescued in 26 incidents.
The total for the US in 2009, when EPIRBs are added:
195 people rescued in 94 incidents.
_________________________
A signal mirror should backup a radio distress signal, like a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB) (Ocean Signal PLB)

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#199786 - 04/07/10 04:52 AM Possible mirror success - 3/28/2010, California [Re: rafowell]
rafowell Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 225
Loc: Southern California
Here's a possible - reporter didn't sound too confident.

3/28/2010 Lost hiker in Crestline California

http://rimoftheworld.net/columns/neufeld/missing_hiker

"A source close to the operation indicated a mirror or other shiny object had possibly been used by Gerald to attract the attention of the search helicopter."



_________________________
A signal mirror should backup a radio distress signal, like a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB) (Ocean Signal PLB)

Top
#199966 - 04/10/10 05:49 AM Possible mirror success - 3/26/2009, Texas [Re: rafowell]
rafowell Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 225
Loc: Southern California
3/26/2009, Texas , Possible mirror success

Seems at best an "assist", since they ignored it
initially until they heard folks were in trouble,
and it was never explained what caused the flash.

http://www.forthoodsentinel.com/story.php?id=515

"he saw a flash “like an emergency signal mirror.”
_________________________
A signal mirror should backup a radio distress signal, like a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB) (Ocean Signal PLB)

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