Monday, August 27, 2012

Guy is alive!

After 48 hours in the wilderness after crashing his paraglider into the side of a hill, an aerial search team found Guy Anderson alive!

More photos of our search are here.

Overview of our search area with Slaughterhouse and Muldoon Canyons.
Bellevue is the green area in the bottom left corner.
Day 2 of the SAR and today we were doing a ground search of the treed areas of the suspected search area.  The thought was that if Guy tossed his reserve and landed in a forested area, or otherwise crashed into the trees, the helicopter may not necessarily see him from above and ground crews may be needed.

Each ground search team was equipped with a radio, GPS, 4-wheel drive vehicle, and SPOT.  HQ was keeping an eye on our progress via our SPOTs.

We searched extremely steep terrain all morning and afternoon...it was so thick and forested in places that we were concerned about becoming casualties ourselves if we twisted an ankle while slipping over a log or deadfall.  The search was very slow, and it was a good thing my team of 2 was restricted to a 1/4-mile radius search zone, as we could only cover a few meters at a time.
Bob's and my search area in Muldoon Canyon.  The intent was to
start with the perimeter of our search zone and spiral in.

It was super hot and dry and we were going through our water quickly, and I was imagining what Guy was going through if he was having to hike through such terrain.  On the other hand, him being mobile would be much better than hanging in a tree for 2 days, or sitting immobile due to a broken leg or pelvis.  We were looking for anything...a piece of paraglider, clothing, footprints, even a discarded apple core, anything to show he had been this way.  But in the end we found nada, and it looked like he wasn't in our search zone.

At this point we got the call that Guy's paraglider had been found, and to return to HQ.  Further information when we returned to debrief was that he had crashed his paraglider on the side of a hill, no reserve deployed, and had crawled/walked downhill (leaving his gear behind) for 1-2 miles.  When found he was still mobile but had multiple broken bones.  Good news though was that he still had at least a liter of water left on him so had possibly found a stream over the past 48 hours.

Guy is currently undergoing surgery and is expected to be OK!  Personally I'm so happy right now I could burst!  I've been involved in too many other searches and fatalities in the past few months and I wasn't sure if I could handle #3 in such a short period of time.  A big thanks to all the other searchers (maybe 50 in total) and the administrative personnel such as Zak who made things happen until the sheriff's office took over.  It's incidents such as this that makes me realize how awesome and tight-knit our community is...what we do is dangerous and it's important that we all look out for each other!  I'm so proud of my fellow searchers!

3 comments:

  1. Great work Nic and everyone involved!!

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  2. Thanks for your and everyone's efforts in finding Guy, it was hugely appreciated by all his friends back home. And thanks for your blog posts too..!

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  3. What a relief to know that Guy has been found. Time is of the essence in such cases, and had the Search not been so intense and thorough, the result may well have been different.
    Guy is doubly lucky - firstly that his injuries were such that they were survivable, and secondly that his friends, fellow pilots and complete strangers dedicated themselves to the cause of finding him swiftly.
    We who watched helplessly from afar are grateful for your efforts of finding our flying buddy. To his family, your efforts are a gift beyond price.
    Thank you to all of you who were involved in finding him.
    Judy Leden

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