July 15 LaPlata Mission Chaffee SO Press Release

CHAFFEE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE Salida, Colorado PRESS RELEASE July 16, 2019 On July 15, 2019 the Chaffee County Communications Center was contacted by hikers on La Plata Peak stating that they hear a person yelling for help. Chaffee County Search and Rescue North and South responded to the area where the screams were last heard and began searching. Searchers scoured the area until just before nightfall when they noticed a light flashing below the summit. Searchers responded closer however they were unable to get into a better position due to the extreme steep and technical terrain. Flight for Life was called for assistance in spotting a possible victim and to pinpoint a better location. They flew into the area and spotted a person on a very steep snowfield. Rescuers were not able to reach the person from their position so a Reach helicopter was contacted and they flew a paramedic/search and rescue member into a better location. After being dropped near the summit the search and rescue member was able to get to the victim at approximately 0300 hrs. By this time arrangements were being made through the Search and Rescue Board of Colorado for air assistance to lift the victim from the treacherous location. The Air National Guard, High Altitude Training Center, Gypsum, Colorado, was contacted and arrangements were made to have a helicopter hoist the victim from the location as early as possible. At approximately 0730 hrs the victim was hoisted from his location and transported to a Flight for Life helicopter which was waiting at Twin Lakes. The victim, identified as Jeffrey Ashby, age 65, was...

June 30, 2019 Chaffee County Sheriff Press Release

On June 29, 2019 at 1633 hours the Chaffee County Communications Center received numerous calls of a kayaker floating downriver from the Buena Vista River Park. Emergency personnel immediately responded to the area and began searching for a potential victim. Information was received that another boater had observed a body in the water near the Wilderness Aware Center in Johnson Village and this boater was now trying to make contact with the body. Emergency personnel and boaters on the water finally were able to pull a male from the water at the River Runners Center. EMS personnel were on scene and the male party was pronounced dead at 1750 hours. Chaffee County Sheriff, Arkansas Water Headwater, and Buena Vista Police began an investigation and it was learned that Michael Robert James, age 40, from Boulder, Colorado, was paddle boating at the Buena Vista River Park. He was observed to fall in the water and was eventually unable to get back on his paddle board. Boaters in the water initially tried to rescue James, however he was eventually swept downstream due to high, fast moving water. Another boater located James in Johnson Village and tried numerous times to pull him to safety but once again high swift water prevented this and this same boater accompanied James to the River Runners area where emergency crews and private citizens pulled James out of the water but at this time he was deceased. The Chaffee County Coroner responded and took possession of Mr...

Recap of Mutual Aid Mission to Saguache County

June 29, 2019 Facebook Post by Custer County SAR On June 26th, 2019 at approximately 1945, Custer County Search and Rescue (CCSAR) was contacted by Suguache County Search and Rescue requesting that CCSAR assist with, and ultimately, assume Incident Command (IC) of a search for an overdue hiker presumed to be in the Willow Creek/Kit Carson area. The Custer County Sheriff’s Office approved the mutual aid request and IC was officially transferred from Saguache SAR to CCSAR at 2130. CCSAR’s Incident Management Team (IMT) worked through the night to organize a thorough search plan and requested additional assistance through the Colorado Search and Rescue Association (CSRA). At 0500 on the 27th, CCSAR members met at CCSAR’s Base in Westcliffe for a briefing and then sent 5 members by vehicle to Crestone with a search assignment of Willow Creek. Chaffee County Search and Rescue North and South (two independent teams), initially volunteered 5 members to assist in clearing upper Willow Creek with ground members as well as a UAV/Drone team. Several of these members were to be inserted into upper Willow Creek drainage by REACH Air Medical Services (REACH). Meanwhile, three CCSAR technical climbers were to be picked up in Westcliffe and lift ticketed into Spanish Creek by Flight for Life (FFL) with the goal of clearing the upper drainage and observing the numerous couloirs and slopes around Kit Carson’s “The Prow” feature. During the 1st insertion of a CCSAR member, the subject was observed deceased on a 35 degree snow slope approximately 1,000 feet below the saddle of Challenger and Kit Carson. Four additional CCSAR members and one Chaffee...

Search and Rescue North to buy thermal imaging drone with Climax grant funding

Max R. Smith,Chaffee County Times reporter, April 18, 2019 Chaffee County Search and Rescue-North will receive funding for an Unmanned Aerial System that can provide high resolution video and thermal imaging to assist the team in locating rescue subjects faster and performing reconnaissance on dangerous, technical terrain. The drone will be funded through a $25,000 grant from the Freeport-McMoRan Climax-area Community Investment Fund. CCSAR-N is one of 13 nonprofits in the area encompassing Lake, Summit, Chaffee and Eagle counties to receive funding in this grant cycle. Freeport-McMoRan, the Phoenix, Ariz. based molybdenum and copper producer, which owns the Climax mine in Leadville, announced its grant recipients last week, totaling $300,400 in monetary awards. CCSAR-N president Erik Rasmussen said the organization sought the UAS on the recommendation of other sister rescue teams in Colorado, and that the drone would enable CCSAR-N to survey much larger areas of terrain much more quickly from the air, locating subjects more quickly and easily and allowing rescuers to plan maneuvers on technical terrain in advance from a bird’s-eye perspective. CCSAR-N has three members certified with the Federal Aviation Administration to pilot drones, and the team has used their personal drone equipment in the past, Rasmussen said. The forward-looking infrared system would allow the team to locate temperature hot spots created by human bodies even through dense tree cover. “It’s definitely a high-tech piece of equipment,” Rasmussen said. Last year, Chaffee County Search and Rescue North completed the test for accreditation by the Mountain Rescue Association’s Rocky Mountain Chapter by performing a staged avalanche rescue in January. To pass the test, a SAR crew needs...

Florida man survives avalanche Thursday

by Brian McCabe Mountain Mail News Editor, 18-Jan-19 Jacob Beebe, 28, survived an avalanche Thursday on Cottonwood Pass, Sheriff John Spezze reported. Beebe, from Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was on a private snowmobile tour with a commercial company when he was buried under about 6 feet of snow. Spezze said guides activated his beacon and dug him out after finding him under his snowmobile. Beebe was revived by the guides on site, then taken down to Denny Creek by snowmobile before being transferred to Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center in stable condition. The original call came in at 3:51 p.m., and Spezze said that besides the sheriff’s office, Chaffee County EMS, the U.S. Forest Service and Chaffee County Search and Rescue North were on hand for the...

Stranded Hiker on Mt. Yale

CCSAR-N Facebook Post, 17-Dec-18 CCSAR-N received a page at 19:35 last night for an overdue hiker on Mt. Yale. The subject’s car was located at the Denny Creek TH. The hasty team started hiking up the trail at 20:40. Reach Air Medical did a flyover and spotted a flashing light about 500 feet southwest of the summit and scouted for a suitable LZ for insertion of more personnel and possible pickup of the subject. Flight for Life then inserted Team 2 on the mountain. FFL dropped off the first member of Team 2 just as Team 1 reached the LZ. Team 1, with the subject’s light in sight, continued up to make contact with the subject and assess the situation while FFL returned to fly in the second member of Team 2. Team 1 located the subject in very steep technical terrain, uninjured but extremely cold and exhausted. They were able to short-rope the subject down through the technical terrain and the two teams walked him down to the LZ where FFL airlifted him out at 04:30. Both teams were out of the field by 07:20. CCSAR-N would like to remind all backcountry hikers to be prepared for varying conditions, including extremely slick, wind-driven snow. Appropriate traction is vital on steep slopes where a slip can take one for a long, fast ride. Know your skill limits and be willing to turn around when conditions exceed them. Always carry the 10 essentials with extra layers for winter conditions; this hiker had a good headlamp which was visible for a long distance and was able to endure the 21 hours...