Search and Rescue

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AZLOT69
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Search and Rescue

Post by AZLOT69 » Sep 16 2009 6:53 pm

I think its outrageous that politics got in the way of a search and rescue mission. No one knows the Superstitions better than Superstition Search and Rescue. The politicians have to be held accountable.

http://www.abc15.com/content/news/south ... Xj2_g.cspx
APACHE JUNCTION, AZ -- It was discovered Thursday that the hiker found dead near the Lost Dutchman State Park on Tuesday suffered sudden cardiac arrest resulting in his death, according to officials.

Lieutenant Tamatha Villar with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, said the preliminary autopsy report shows hiker Kelly Tate had a diseased blood vessel in his heart.

According to Villar, apparently neither Tate nor his family knew about the heart problem.

The medical examiner on the case reported that the diseased blood vessel caused Tate to suffer a sudden cardiac arrest, and estimates that the hiker had been dead for a minimum of four to five days when his body was found.

The body of Kelly Tate was found late Tuesday in an area where searchers had been looking for nearly a week, about 200 yards from Tate's motorcycle, which was in a parking lot near the Discovery Trail.

Rescue crews from Pinal, Pima, Maricopa and Gila Counties as well as the Arizona Department of Public Safety, US Air Force Civil Air Patrol and numerous volunteers had all been involved in the search for Tate.

The hunt for the missing hiker near Apache Junction was reclassified as a recovery search on Tuesday morning, according to officials with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.

The recovery classification meant rescue crews were no longer expecting to find the missing hiker alive.

The search had been reduced to a single agency effort spearheaded by the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, scaling back from the multi-agency hunt on since last Thursday when Tate went missing.

The discovery followed days of blistering heat and little success in the search for the 53-year-old hiker who went missing in the Lost Dutchman State Park.

Officials with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said the search began after the Phoenix native went hiking around 7:30 a.m. Thursday and told his wife he would be back in the afternoon, but failed to return.

Search and Rescue teams from Pinal, Pima, and Maricopa counties, along with Arizona Department of Corrections and Sonoran Search and Rescue had been participating in the search.
Last edited by AZLOT69 on Sep 16 2009 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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dysfunction
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by dysfunction » Sep 16 2009 7:02 pm

I do too, but unfortunately I do not think they could have helped the individual by the time a search was called for :(
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chumley
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by chumley » Sep 16 2009 7:10 pm

If I was injured and needing rescue, or a loved one was missing, I certainly would welcome every extra person possible out there looking, but there seems to be much more to this story than is being reported. The Pinal County Search and Rescue, Pima County Search and Rescue, Maricopa County Search and Rescue, Sonoran Search and Rescue, and Arizona Department of Corrections (huh?), were all participating.

Without explaining what the "past issues" with the Superstition Search and Rescue are, its difficult for me to make a judgement. Though I admit its also difficult for me to come up with realistic past issues that would warrant the exclusion. I'm guessing it would have to be something that endangers other rescuers ... if not, then you are correct that there is probably no excuse.

But it seems like the search wasn't conducted very well either way if he was only 200 yards from his motorcycle and wasn't found for 4 or 5 days.
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nonot
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by nonot » Sep 16 2009 8:01 pm

The story says they brought dogs. The dogs couldn't sniff him out at 200 yards, must've been pretty dang hot out there to do that.
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SuperstitionGuy
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Sep 16 2009 8:28 pm

Superstition Search & Rescue is a technical ground search team with years of experience working the Superstitions under the direction of the Pinal County Sheriffs Deputies assigned to investigate and conduct searches. Robert Cooper has been the Commander for many years and his reputation is without question. If there had been a problem between SSAR and the County Sheriffs Department I seriously doubt that it was Roberts fault. Maybe one of his volunteers screwed up but not Robert!

Sonoran Search and Rescue is a dog search team that we often trained and worked with. Both teams were experienced working together under the direction of the Sheriffs Deputies assigned to investigate and conduct searches. When we would search together the dog teams would lead and we would assist behind and somewhat aside the operating dog handler and his or her dog.

As the search was being conducted from the parking lot of the Lost Dutchman State Park it is possible there was friction between the Park Rangers and SSAR which is hard to believe as we always had a very good relationship working with them. Also keep in mind that there is a new Sheriff in town (Pinal County) and maybe he made changes in the Deputy staff assigned to investigate and conduct searches that contributed to a breakdown in relationships between the Sheriffs department and SSAR. The two previous Sheriffs were excellent to work with and often visited our monthly meetings to give thanks and appreciation for our efforts.

Hopefully this decision to not deploy SSAR will not happen again.

Just a reminder to those of you visiting the Superstitions. If you are in need of assistance remember that this Wilderness is divided between two counties and be sure to reach the 911 operator for the respective county you are in for assistance. Failure to do so may cause delay in notifying the proper search teams to assist you. :scared:
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te_wa
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by te_wa » Sep 16 2009 8:36 pm

do you think, Owen, the liability is too high in summer heat for a volunteer group under somewhat jurisdiction/cooperation from an "on the clock" paid sherriff's posse?
im wondering..
:D

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SuperstitionGuy
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Sep 16 2009 9:09 pm

The Pinal County search team is SSAR and Sonoran SAR. As far as I know Maricopa does not have and have not had a posse of Deputies specifically trained for search and rescue such as SSAR. edit - I should have said "a posse of volunteers specifically trained for"

Maricopa County has many different posse groups for various functions made up of Deputies and volunteers. As for the Superstitions they rely mostly on Deputies and helicopter search. When that effort fails they have posse groups that are jeep, ATV and mounted horse units that they rely on.

There is in Arizona a mountain rescue team that is very highly technical and is trained in mine rescues as well. SSAR has been dispatched along with them on some mine rescues in Pinal County. Any county can call upon this highly skilled group of volunteers. Unfortunately I do not remember their name.

SSAR does do summer searches and is trained and equipped to go out in all weather. We also would respond and search at night which many search teams will not do. I.E. although they may set up a base camp of operations the search teams will not be dispatched until daylight. The technical team that I referred to in the preceding paragraph will initate a search 24/7 as well.

I hope I answered your question.

Take care you'all and be safe out there...
Last edited by SuperstitionGuy on Sep 20 2009 4:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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tibber
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by tibber » Sep 16 2009 10:06 pm

SuperstitionGuy wrote:Just a reminder to those of you visiting the Superstitions. If you are in need of assistance remember that this Wilderness is divided between two counties and be sure to reach the 911 operator for the respective county you are in for assistance. Failure to do so may cause delay in notifying the proper search teams to assist you. :scared:
Well when we were making our way from Hackberry via Garden Valley to First Water early this year, we placed a 911 call to help assist with a rescue. We were transferred 3 times before we got to MCSO. Of course, we didn't know who had jurisdiction anyway. And even worse, when we saw the helicpoter head east down 2nd Water & past our location, we had to call again and it took them 3 patches to get us back to MCSO to tell them they missed the turn, so to speak. http://hikearizona.com/phoZOOM.php?ZIP=84207 However, it was still a relatively fast rescue. :stretch: I am sure the girl who broke her ankle was grateful for their speed in getting to her. Fortunately, another hiking party had some pain pills.

Another lesson we probably learned from this is, don't assume if someone says they called that they did. And it could also be a case where they may try to call but can't get through on their cell phone or such. We had to keep making our way to higher ground to get decent cell service. I think I would suggest you tell at least two groups of people or persons to make the call. I think that increases your odds of either assisting in a rescue or being rescued.

And another lesson if you are hiking with more than one person is for everyone to bring their cell phones; especially if you have different providers. Also, at nite, the cell phone works as a lite for nite rescue as it did on another hike I was involved with assisting MCSO. I am sure there are lots of other great tips out there; those are just the ones I am most familiar with at this time.

These are things we can do to make it easier for all the great folks who do search and rescue. :budrose: They truly are :worthy: awesome people!
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Jeffshadows
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by Jeffshadows » Sep 17 2009 6:37 am

By AZ state law all search and rescue functions are under the control and authority of the county sheriff for the county wherein they occur. The fact that they had to medivac one of the "searchers" due to heat exhaustion says a great deal. The first rule of SAR: "Don't become the next victim."
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SuperstitionGuy
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Sep 17 2009 7:21 am

We do not know who the searcher that had to be air lifted out was. It could have been a deputy from either county involved in the search or an officer of the department of corrections. I.E not a SAR volunteer at all.
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Jeffshadows
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by Jeffshadows » Sep 17 2009 7:47 am

I hope you're right. It really makes one wonder why they had to bring PCSD SAR and SARA all the way up there if there was a "competent" group nearby?
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azbackpackr
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by azbackpackr » Sep 17 2009 7:57 am

Do they bring the prisoners out to help on searches? (Up here they use the prisoners to do basic weedwhacking and picking up roadside trash.)
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Jeffshadows
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by Jeffshadows » Sep 17 2009 8:07 am

That's what it sounded like. Must be a Maracopa county thing.
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SuperstitionGuy
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Sep 17 2009 8:57 am

azbackpackr wrote:Do they bring the prisoners out to help on searches? (Up here they use the prisoners to do basic weedwhacking and picking up roadside trash.)
We do here in Utah and they make very good searchers. The only problem is that their guards are to lazy and fat to keep up with them. :sl:
Also the inmates have to return to the lockup every night which cuts down on their availability.
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SuperstitionGuy
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Sep 19 2009 8:47 pm

Yesterday the East Valley Tribune reported that the autopsy results indicated that he died of a heart attack.
A man's body may grow old, but inside his spirit can still be as young and restless as ever.
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Jeffshadows
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by Jeffshadows » Sep 19 2009 8:49 pm

I'm actually surprised (and glad) it doesn't happen more often...
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azbackpackr
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by azbackpackr » Sep 20 2009 6:26 am

Well, it's too bad, and sad, of course, but I'm actually glad it isn't yet another heat stroke case. Although heat may have had something to do with triggering it at that time, and the fact he was out there off the trail and not easily found meant that if he could have been saved, no one was there to do CPR and call 911.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
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SuperstitionGuy
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Sep 20 2009 3:45 pm

I just read AZLOT's update. Does anyone know if Kelly Tate's body was found in a wash as opposed to near a trail. SSAR always first ran search crews up or down the washes as well as along the trails in the case of a missing hiker in this area. It is quite common for hikers coming down from Siphon Draw to turn off the trail and take a wash down to where they think they parked their vehicle. You know, the shortcut to get out of the sun and back to the air conditioned car and a drink of fresh cold water. Lives have previously been saved by checking the washes coming down from the Siphon Draw area.

And I certainly agree with AZLOT when he said:

"I think its outrageous that politics got in the way of a search and rescue mission. No one knows the Superstitions better than Superstition Search and Rescue. The politicians have to be held accountable."

And I hope Kellys wife reads this post!
A man's body may grow old, but inside his spirit can still be as young and restless as ever.
- Garth McCann from the movie Second Hand Lions

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AZLOT69
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by AZLOT69 » Sep 20 2009 5:12 pm

Interesting the Pinal Sheriff won't explain !

http://www.abc15.com/mediacenter/local. ... navCatId=3
It's best for a man to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open his mouth and remove all doubt.
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SuperstitionGuy
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Sep 20 2009 6:20 pm

For those of you that missed the unedited first post by AZLOT, the original article published by the East Valley Tribune has disappeared off the face of the earth. The one that discussed the fact in detail that SSAR wasn't used. Did the Sheriff's department put pressure on the Trib to make it unavailable? And what about the claim and counter claim in the video that SSAR Commander Robert Cooper said that a member of his team found the body and the Sheriff's department saying "no way".

Can someone from the Pinal County Sheriff's office (other than the PR lady) please answer why the most experienced volunteer search and rescue organization for the Superstition Wilderness area was not used in the search for this missing hiker!
A man's body may grow old, but inside his spirit can still be as young and restless as ever.
- Garth McCann from the movie Second Hand Lions

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