3 lost hikers rescued

Date: 7/6/2014

3 lost hikers rescued

3 lost hikers rescued

Date: 07/06/14 at 8:15 p.m.
Location: Approx. 5 miles west of Mirror Lake Trail Head
Nichols, Rachelle 30 year old female from Bend area
Fratto, Brandy 33 year old female from Bend area
Brenner, Kristin 31 year old female from Eugene area

Prepared by: Deputy Jeff Winters, Assistant SAR Coordinator

On 07/06/2014 at about 12:15 p.m., Deschutes County 911 received a 911 call for help from a 30 year old female named Rachelle Nichols. Nichols advised the 911 operator that she was hiking with two friends in the Mirror Lake area and they had lost the trail. The Mirror Lake Trail Head is located just north of Elk Lake on the Cascade Lakes Hwy. Nichols reported the group was about 5 miles in from the trail head and needed help finding their way back out.

Nichols reported the three were dressed appropriately for the weather, had adequate food and water, a map and a compass, but weren’t prepared to spend the night in the wilderness.

911 was able to obtain a Lat/Lon coordinates from the phone ping and using a GPS application on her smart phone, Nichols was able to confirm the group’s general location. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (SAR) was notified a short time later.

Due to the poor cell phone coverage with Nichols and the potential to loose contact with the group all together, it was determined that the safest solution was to have the group stay where they were and to send SAR in to locate the subjects.

At about 3:00 p.m., a group of 8 Search and Rescue Volunteers with medical training and back country experience and one Sheriff’s Office Deputy had formed a plan to rescue the three lost hikers and assembled at the Mirror Lake and Devil’s Lake Trail Heads.

A team of three SAR volunteers launched from the Devil’s Lake trail head and a team of four volunteers set out from the Mirror Lake trail head. At about 4:45 p.m., the Mirror Lake trail head team located the lost subjects and reported back to SAR command that all were well and the group was being moved out to the trail head under their own power.

At about 7:00 p.m., both SAR teams and the three lost subjects arrived back at the Mirror Lake trail head parking lot. All three were interviewed by a Sheriff’s Deputy before leaving.

During the interview, the Sheriff’s Office learned that the three subjects had prepared well for a warm summer day trip, but hadn’t prepared to comfortably survive over night if their trip didn’t go as planned. The group lacked adequate warm clothing and or sleeping bags for the cold temperatures the wilderness experiences over night.

To their credit, the group was praised for their decision to call for assistance as soon as they realized they were lost rather than wandering farther away from help. The group followed the instructions of the SAR team to stay put and wait for rescue.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public not to underestimate the possibility of things to go wrong on a simple day hike and the danger of going into the wilderness under experienced or under prepared. Remember at a minimum to always carry the ten essentials when going into the back country.

1) Navigation (map and compass)
2) Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)
3) Insulation (extra clothing)
4) Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
5) First-aid supplies
6) Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles)
7) Repair kit and tools
8) Nutrition (extra food)
9) Hydration (extra water)
10) Emergency shelter

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