SAR too slow for injured hiker - she calls private chopper

4:57 p.m. on July 25, 2013 (EDT)
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6:47 p.m. on July 25, 2013 (EDT)
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Nogods, that link doesnt go to the story, just a google search with about 30 stories that fit the key words.

Here is a link to the story i think he is refering to

http://abcnews.go.com/US/mountain-rescue-crew-slow-texas-woman-calls-chopper/story?id=19774169

 

8:45 p.m. on July 25, 2013 (EDT)
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Sounds like a Richie Rich cartoon plot.  Cadbury to the rescue!

8:35 a.m. on July 26, 2013 (EDT)
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Stuff like this will eventually come back to bite us all in the butt. I network with an attorney who specializes in Recreational Law out in Colorado. He told me a few years ago that as incidents like these pile up, states will either stop issuing backcountry permits or make the fees so high that only the rich can afford them.

At the time, he was specifically talking about a group of weekend hikers who activated their emergency beacon 3 times in 2 days. None of them were real emergencies. One of the times was because they didn't know how to use their water filter.

I don't believe in most cases we should charge rescue fees--to do so would put people at greater risk ("I can't afford a $10,000 rescue fee. So I'll continue wandering lost & injured."). But this woman should be asked to pay for the rescue efforts.

9:55 a.m. on July 26, 2013 (EDT)
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Goose 00 said:

At the time, he was specifically talking about a group of weekend hikers who activated their emergency beacon 3 times in 2 days. None of them were real emergencies. One of the times was because they didn't know how to use their water filter.

Maybe there should be a test before a backcountry permit is issued. Or maybe just better instructions on when to activate beacons.

Then if someone asks for an unnecessary rescue, you could legitimately send them a bill.

The problem with emergency beacons for hiking is that, as they become more common, there will be more and more people who don't really understand what they're for. A minor problem for your or I might to someone else be a potential disaster so they panic.

I met an older lady last weekend, an ex-trekking guide with 20 trips to the Himalayas under her belt. She had a SPOT on her pack, but when I asked her about it, she said it was just so her grandchildren could track her summer trips on their computers.

In Nepal, she carried the ones that used standard air/sea rescue frequencies and she was well-aware that any rescue there would cost a LOT of money. She triggered hers once when, after descending from 18,000 to 13,500 feet, one of her clients started showing signs of severe cerebral edema. That was a true life-or-death situation, and she acted promptly. The client got the bill for the rescue. 

8:34 p.m. on July 26, 2013 (EDT)
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Peter1955 said:

The problem with emergency beacons for hiking is that, as they become more common, there will be more and more people who don't really understand what they're for. A minor problem for your or I might to someone else be a potential disaster so they panic.

 Yep, and people who shouldn't be in the backcountry in the first place, but feel over-confident with the presence of a beacon.

One of the things I was taught as a young caver is you are your first rescuer. Pretend no one is coming for you if you screw up, and make your decisions accordingly.

2:16 p.m. on July 27, 2013 (EDT)
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Buying the beacon shows something like committment.  They all have cellphones anyway to call for rescues they don't need. 

 

On the other hand, most normal people are veryly embarassed to be rescued and wait too long to call for help.  I am in the volunteer fire dept in my town and last year we had two women who went on a hike an hour before sunset without a light, misjudged the distance (the trail wasn't a loop like they thought) and called 911 when it started getting dark.   It was a couple hours before we found them.  Before they called for help, once they realized they were in trouble, they left the trail to take a "shortcut" but went the wrong way.)  They were glad to see us but also super embarassed and even more so when we brought them out and their husbands were waiting for them.

9:30 a.m. on July 28, 2013 (EDT)
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I'm not saying there aren't times to call for a rescue. I'm saying some gadgets create a sense of overconfidence. A rescue beacon (or cell phone) is no substitute for study and preparation. Your rescue is a perfect example--a series of mistakes resulting in a call to 9-1-1. I carry headlamp & compass even if I'm going out at 9am on a short, well-established trail.

10:47 a.m. on July 29, 2013 (EDT)
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Maybe there should be a test before a backcountry permit is issued. Or maybe just better instructions on when to activate beacons.
Then if someone asks for an unnecessary rescue, you could legitimately send them a bill.

I'm sorry, but no. 

It is the individual's responsibility to be educated and prepared, and no one's open access to our wild places should be hinged upon nannying those who are too irresponsible to equip and prepare themselves. 

Ignorance and blaming someone else for not educating them is not an excuse, and they should get the bill, and it would be entirely legitimate. 

11:17 a.m. on July 29, 2013 (EDT)
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I blame it on all the Jeep, Land Rover & Subaru commercials.  LOL

11:41 a.m. on July 29, 2013 (EDT)
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Bill her.  If she has the money to pay for a private chopper, she has the money to pay for the SAR operation.

8:51 a.m. on July 30, 2013 (EDT)
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gonzan said:

I'm sorry, but no. 

It is the individual's responsibility to be educated and prepared, and no one's open access to our wild places should be hinged upon nannying those who are too irresponsible to equip and prepare themselves. 

Ignorance and blaming someone else for not educating them is not an excuse, and they should get the bill, and it would be entirely legitimate. 

 I'm on the fence with this one.

Meramec State Park (Missouri) issues permits for rappelling on the Green River bluffs. To obtain a permit, you have to present yourself at the park office and answer a few questions from a designated ranger. They're basic questions that were easy to answer if you know what you're doing. (What kind of experience do you have? What equipment are you using? What kind of rope? What knots do you prefer?) It took me all of 5 minutes to get a permit. His questions couldn't guarantee an accident wouldn't occur, but had I stood there stammering in ignorance, he could have denied my permit.


I'm not a fan in government oversight in every area of our lives, but if government is going to have to be responsible for a backcountry rescue, I don't think it's asking too much--in permit situations--to require a person to present themselves with their gear and go through a few questions to ensure they don't go out unprepared. And one of those questions should be, "Do you understand that you are first and foremost responsible for your own safety, that you cannot depend on rescue personal finding you in time if you get into trouble?"

12:28 p.m. on July 30, 2013 (EDT)
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rob5073 said:

Bill her.  If she has the money to pay for a private chopper, she has the money to pay for the SAR operation.

 I have to agree with this Rob..She made the mistake to have a copter come get her.She needs to reimburse the SAR team for the time and effort..

1:12 p.m. on July 30, 2013 (EDT)
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My biggest issue is the fact that SAR put their safety and well being on the line to help her off the mountain and it wasn't convenient enough for her?

Seriously?

I would definitely expect her to reimburse them and I think it should be required in this scenario.

I would be willing to bet that a few of the SAR team members felt "inconvenienced" a bit as well. 

Smh...

July 22, 2014
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