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#268833 - 04/06/14 06:32 PM Re: New Zealand man saved by PLB and mirror: 3/31/2014 [Re: rafowell]
Doug_Ritter Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/28/01
Posts: 1991
[quote=rafowell]This New Zealand hiker found a man lying in a stream in the woods with a head injury.

The hiker used his PLB to summon help (no cell coverage), but the helicopter had trouble locating them due to the tree canopy, and (judging by the photo - see linked article below) there was no place to land nearby.

The hiker found a spot of sunlight and used his signal mirror through a gap in the canopy to signal the helicopter. ( Since he's in a Commonwealth country, he refers to it as a "heliograph mirror").

[quote]

Even with all the technologies, you still need the basics!
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#268835 - 04/06/14 09:36 PM Re: New Zealand man saved by PLB and mirror: 3/31/2014 [Re: rafowell]
tomfaranda Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 02/14/08
Posts: 301
Loc: Croton on Hudson, NY
no links.

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#268844 - 04/07/14 06:07 PM Re: New Zealand man saved by PLB and mirror: 3/31/2014 [Re: Doug_Ritter]
Glock-A-Roo Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 1076
Originally Posted By: Doug_Ritter
Even with all the technologies, you still need the basics!


A very common theme I've noticed in reading survival accounts over the last 5 years or so is that the final 100-200 meters are problematic, even when rescue was called in via phone or PLB. You still need the mirror, flares, strobelight, etc.

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#268858 - 04/08/14 04:01 AM Re: New Zealand man saved by PLB and mirror: 3/31/2014 [Re: rafowell]
CDVXF7 Offline
Newbie

Registered: 02/25/07
Posts: 45
This may help...
http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a081153.pdf

From 1980 a US military critical evaluation of survival kits and vests they use. It gives statistics how pilots were rescued, what items in the survival kit were used. Table 2 "Means used to Locate Individual" on page 11 ranks mirror 15th out of 28. I'm still going to pack a mirror anyway.

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#268869 - 04/08/14 08:04 PM Re: New Zealand man saved by PLB and mirror: 3/31/2014 [Re: rafowell]
MDinana Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2186
Loc: Bluegrass

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#268875 - 04/09/14 02:00 AM Re: New Zealand man saved by PLB and mirror: 3/31/2014 [Re: tomfaranda]
rafowell Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 225
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: tomfaranda
no links.


The links are in the original post, here: Original Post
_________________________
A signal mirror should backup a radio distress signal, like a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB) (Ocean Signal PLB)

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#268878 - 04/09/14 02:50 AM Arizona Scouts Signal helicopter: 9/18/2010 [Re: MDinana]
rafowell Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 225
Loc: Southern California


Thanks for the links. In both cases, it seems a case of Scouts "being prepared".

I have lots more information on the first incident.

I worked up information at the time, but apparently got distracted, and never posted - thanks for the reminder:

(9/18/2010, six scouts & 2 leaders, Pine Mountain Wilderness, Yavapai County, AZ -
low on water, used ham radio to get the word out).

Here are two more news reports with more details -
the first one includes the tidbit that the helicopter spotted the signal mirror flashes when about 5 miles out.



A Scout leader friend of mine, who helps organize that event in Arizona, interviewed the Scout leader involved afterwards and passed some additional information on to me.

The Scouts were out for their annual mountaintop to mountaintop signal mirror signalling event, Operation On Target, an annual event since the early 1980s, in which I've participated since 2009.

So, the scouts had lots of signal mirrors with which to signal the helicopter, and were practiced in their use (which is important!)

Since ham radio is used for peak-peak coordination during the event, they had more than one of those, too.

Per my friend, what caused them to be running late was that the trail signs had been removed, so they were bushwhacking their way in the heat and altitude, and a couple of the boys were getting dehydrated and short on water.

Compounding the issue is that the cell phone they'd been using for GPS had run out of juice on the way up, so they didn't have good GPS coordinates to report.(Allowing batteries to run out is a common theme in many of these incidents).

The GPS coordinates they transmitted to the Prescott ham (who relayed to the helicopter) were the GPS coordinates for the peak they had signaled from earlier in the day, which they had prerecorded, so the signal mirrors were really key, here, since the GPS coordinates they gave were only enough to get the helicopter to the general neighborhood.

Since they didn't have a common radio frequency with the helicopter, all of their radio communications with it were multihop - they only spoke to the Prescott ham directly, and he relayed from there.

The assessment of the Scout leaders in the field at the time was that they'd make it out on their own, and they just asked the Prescott ham to let their families know they were okay and running late, but apparently there was enough concern that the sheriff mobilized.





Edited by rafowell (04/09/14 03:31 AM)
Edit Reason: fixed typo.
_________________________
A signal mirror should backup a radio distress signal, like a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB) (Ocean Signal PLB)

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#275148 - 05/18/15 05:57 AM Signal Mirror Rescue 5/13/2015 Alaska [Re: rafowell]
rafowell Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 225
Loc: Southern California
Hiker stuck on Thunder Mountain cliff near Juneau, Alaska, hoisted off by USCG last Thursday.

USCG Petty Officer Trevor Frommherz said: "“People down there were down there, saw him, he was flashing a signal mirror, trying to get some help,” The USCG report says: "After notifying 911 by cellphone, the hiker was able to use a reflective device to help rescuers hone in on his location." USCG spokesman Kelly Parker said: "That did help us find him on the mountain face.”

The first distress report reached state troopers ca. 12:30 - unclear whether that was from observers near a local high school that he flashed with his mirror, or his 12:41 911 call. Local search and rescue tried with their helicopter and personnel to rescue him, but called in the USCG ca. 6 PM. USCG on scene at 7:10 PM.

News stories:


USCG video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYZJocuyHkg



The USCG video is available as a 148 Mb download here:
https://www.dvidshub.net/video/404533/co...r-juneau-alaska


Edited by rafowell (05/18/15 06:20 AM)
Edit Reason: balance unbalanced markup code
_________________________
A signal mirror should backup a radio distress signal, like a 406 MHz PLB (ACR PLB) (Ocean Signal PLB)

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#275158 - 05/18/15 03:15 PM Re: Signal Mirror Rescue 5/13/2015 Alaska [Re: rafowell]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7076
Loc: southern Cal
Well, I have a failure to report. We can learn from our failures as well as our successes, right?

No emergency was involved, but I spotted my two companions about a quarter mile distant, hiking down a road to retrieve a vehicle and then come back to collect me when we had completed our tasks. The sun was at a perfect angle for signalling. I decided to try my compass mirror (Suunto MC-2), forming "V' with my fingers. I flashed and flashed without getting their attention.

Quite surprising really. Had this been an actual emergency,I would have dug into my gear a bit deeper and used my dedicated signal mirror.
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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#275160 - 05/18/15 05:38 PM Re: Signal Mirror Rescue 5/13/2015 Alaska [Re: hikermor]
gonewiththewind Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1517
We learn MORE from mistakes than successes.

If they are not looking in the direction of the signal, they can't see it.

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