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#239138 - 01/12/12 01:39 PM An Engaging Rescue
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6951
Loc: southern Cal
Here is some positive news form the NPS - an entirely new meaning to "terms of engagement..."

Today's Report | Recent Editions
Thursday, January 12, 2012


INCIDENTS

White Sands National Monument (NM)
Newly Engaged Couple Found By Interagency Searchers

On the afternoon of Monday, January 9th, the park learned that two visitors who had been hiking within the dunes since noon were lost and unable to find their way out. Russell Vandameer and Karen Renshaw, both of Oklahoma, left to go hiking with their three dogs, Stitch, Suzy, and Griswald. After finding a suitably beautiful spot within the dunes, Vandemeer proposed to Renshaw. The newly engaged couple than attempted to hike back to their car, but were unable to find their way back. Rather than continue to wander becoming more lost, they contacted a cousin via cell phone and requested that help be sent. An interagency effort was begun that involved the NPS, the Alamo West Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Army. While two Army Rescue Blackhawk helicopters were en route from Fort Bliss, approximately an hour away, Holloman Air Force base diverted an F-22 Raptor from a training mission to the search effort. The pilot of the Raptor was able to positively identify the couple with their three dogs. Two Air Force drones were also tasked, which were able to relay specific coordinates and monitor the lost hiker's location and movement from the air while the Army helicopters were en route. The hikers and their dogs were transported by the Army Blackhawks out of the dunes to the command post, where they were examined by NPS and Alamo West EMS for exposure to the below freezing nighttime temperatures. Renshaw accepted Vandemeer's marriage proposal. The newly engaged couple invited the Blackhawk crew to the wedding. The search effort was greatly aided by the assistance of the military aircraft, which utilized night vision and infrared equipment to safely locate the hikers after nightfall. Ranger Kelly Roche acted as IC.

This is only speculation, but one wonders if they would encourage their future children to enlist....



Edited by hikermor (01/12/12 03:11 PM)
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Geezer in Chief

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#239144 - 01/12/12 03:17 PM Re: An Engaging Rescue [Re: hikermor]
GoatRider Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/28/04
Posts: 832
Loc: Maple Grove, MN
Pro tip: If you're going to get lost, get lost near an army and air force base.
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- Benton

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#239145 - 01/12/12 03:58 PM Re: An Engaging Rescue [Re: hikermor]
Tyber Offline
Sheriff
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/27/09
Posts: 292
Loc: ST. Paul MN
Goat Rider, I think you have a point.

The FLIR (Forward Looking Infer Red) is always a great way to find people. Especially when it is cold. In that situation it would be the equivalent of finding someone with a flashlight at night.

It was nice to see that she accepted his proposal.
.

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#239150 - 01/12/12 04:19 PM Re: An Engaging Rescue [Re: Tyber]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1136
Loc: Alaska
FLIR works even better if you have any kind of light at all. I once chatted with an Air National Guard helo pilot. He described a rescue where they had located a man out in a remote area on the tundra in western Alaska. The guy was using a mini-maglite inside his tent. The pilot claimed they spotted him with FLIR from about 20 miles (~30 km) away.
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"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
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#239156 - 01/12/12 05:57 PM Re: An Engaging Rescue [Re: hikermor]
PSM Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 05/26/06
Posts: 77
Loc: Cochise Co., AZ
They couldn't track their own footprints back?


Edited by PSM (01/12/12 05:57 PM)

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#239159 - 01/12/12 06:33 PM Re: An Engaging Rescue [Re: AKSAR]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: AKSAR
FLIR works even better if you have any kind of light at all.

Just so I understand your point, you're not saying FLIR works better when it's light out, right? You're saying it works well to find a flashlight, I presume. That hot little incandescent filament is going to be a lot hotter than body temp. I suppose even a lit tea candle would be helpful.

That sounds crazy that a lowly MiniMag could be picked up 20 miles away by that pilot!

I suppose it varies greatly by location, but I wonder how often wilderness rescues include FLIR-equipped aircraft? Does the Coast Guard use FLIR? Any heat signature out on that cold ocean would stand out like a sore thumb, you would think. Even the filament from a strobe light on a PFD or survival suit is a very hot heat source.

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#239160 - 01/12/12 06:48 PM Re: An Engaging Rescue [Re: PSM]
GoatRider Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/28/04
Posts: 832
Loc: Maple Grove, MN
Originally Posted By: PSM
They couldn't track their own footprints back?

They don't exactly sound like the Aragorn type.
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- Benton

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#239162 - 01/12/12 07:00 PM Re: An Engaging Rescue [Re: hikermor]
Glock-A-Roo Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 1076
Maybe their wedding presents should include his & hers PLBs... wink

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#239168 - 01/12/12 07:52 PM Re: An Engaging Rescue [Re: PSM]
JerryFountain Offline
Addict

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 418
Loc: St. Petersburg, Florida
Originally Posted By: PSM
They couldn't track their own footprints back?


In that sand and the wind that is almost always there the tracks don't last long. If there was any breeze they would be gone in a few minutes. A good tracker might follow them for half a mile or more, but most people would not see them after a few hundred yards.

Respectfully,

Jerry

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#239184 - 01/12/12 11:36 PM Re: An Engaging Rescue [Re: JerryFountain]
PSM Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 05/26/06
Posts: 77
Loc: Cochise Co., AZ
Originally Posted By: JerryFountain
Originally Posted By: PSM
They couldn't track their own footprints back?


In that sand and the wind that is almost always there the tracks don't last long. If there was any breeze they would be gone in a few minutes. A good tracker might follow them for half a mile or more, but most people would not see them after a few hundred yards.

Respectfully,

Jerry


Thanks. I've passed by the dunes many times, but never stopped to check them out. Coincidentally, I just learned that a friend of my son was there the day before the SAR. On his blog, he described the "sand" as more of a powder.

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