Search and Rescue

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AZLOT69
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Joined: Feb 12 2002 7:43 pm
City, State: Gold Canyon, AZ

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.
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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trekkin_gecko
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by trekkin_gecko » Sep 20 2009 7:04 pm

i read the same story in the republic, and now i can't find that version on line. i've thrown out my papers from last week, so i can't dig it up. i'm sure if someone still has that paper from around the 16th, they can find the article discussing SSAR.
seems like the stories have been edited to remove that reference.

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AZLOT69
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by AZLOT69 » Sep 20 2009 7:17 pm

Something is not right in regards to Search and Rescue in the Pinal County area of the Superstition Mountains. Please take a look at the following links, make your own judgement and perhaps voice your displeasure to your elected politicians. Your life or someone you love may depend on it.
http://www.superstition-sar.org/
http://www.ajnews.com/
It's best for a man to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open his mouth and remove all doubt.
--Mark Twain

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AZLOT69
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by AZLOT69 » Sep 20 2009 8:05 pm

It's best for a man to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open his mouth and remove all doubt.
--Mark Twain

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joebartels
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by joebartels » Sep 20 2009 9:29 pm

SuperstitionGuy wrote: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.
One of the many reasons I REALLY dislike linking. Quote & attach!
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azbackpackr
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by azbackpackr » Sep 21 2009 3:53 am

Yeah, Joe, I agree, for the most part. For one thing, when anyone on a thread I'm reading puts a link, I often don't take time to look at it. I just take their word for it. However, I am really glad you did add that feature. It's very handy.

We have had issues in Apache County with our Sheriff's search and rescue, vs. an independent youth group one, for which I volunteer. The youth group, Apache Rescue Team, trains three hours a week, and sometimes on weekends as well, and at one time a few years ago could place in the field about 10 HS kids who were all certified WFRs who also had been through the Incident Command System training. Of course, those kids have grown and gone and we have new kids now, less experienced. But anyway, they never call us out in our own county. We all got certified to do search and rescue in New Mexico, so we get calls there, and in Greenlee County. Apache County Sheriff's volunteer group does not train much and they are a sort of good ol' boys drinking club, which has the advantage of county dollars to buy ATVs and a huge semi truck thing with a kitchen in it so they can eat steaks while they are on a search. They always drive that thing in the 4th of July parade. It turns my stomach. They even had a men-only rule up until less than 10 years ago, if you can believe that... Sickening.
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cathymocha
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by cathymocha » Sep 21 2009 6:19 am

Turf-war-lords...hmmm...sounds familiar. :(

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SuperstitionGuy
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Sep 21 2009 6:50 am

Following is the article from this weeks Apache Junction News
"‘Personality Conflict’ Affects Search Effort
Sheriff rebukes the Superstition Wilderness’ main rescue group for Superstition search—
Missing hiker’s body recovered after 5 days and only 150 yards from the parking lot
By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski The News

A hiker found dead about 6 p.m. Tuesday, September 15, near Discovery Trail Head in Lost Dutchman State Park died from cardiac arrest, according to preliminary autopsy results released Thursday, September 17, by the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office. The report revealed that Kelly Tate, 53, had a diseased blood vessel in his heart, apparently unknown to him and his family, according to PCSO spokeswoman Tami Villar. Entomology supports the estimation that Tate had been deceased for a minimum of four to five days when his body was found only 150 yards from his motorcycle in the Park’s parking lot, Villar said.

Tate had been missing since Thursday, September 10, when he told his wife he was going to go hiking for a few hours. When he did not return, his wife called the police, Villar said. Sheriff Paul Babeau of Pinal County did not call out Superstition Search and Rescue to help find the missing Mesa man because of a “personality conflict,” according to Villar. The 15-year-old SSAR team has a record of retrieving 2,000 hikers alive from the Superstition Wilderness over the course of those 15 years.

Instead, up to 150 searchers from rescue teams from Pinal Pima, Maricopa and Gila counties, as well as the Arizona Department of Public Safety, U.S. Air Force Civil Air Patrol and other volunteers were called out. According to sources, SSAR has been told to “Stand down” by Babeau since he took office in January 2009. “It’s very difficult to explain,” Villar said about the relationship between SSAR and the sheriff’s office. “There have been some internal issues in the past. I think it has to do with personality conflicts between people. Because of that, associations have become counterproductive. They have a tendency to interfere with the productivity, she said. Sheriff Babeau defeated former Sheriff Chris Vasquez in last year’s election. The founder and commander of SSAR, Robert Cooper, supported Vasquez in that race.

Cooper declined to comment for this story, but Villar stressed, “It’s not political.” Villar explained the two organizations are working together to mend fences. “What they’re working on right now is internal policy within the sheriff’s office to govern searches and we’re in the process of reorganizing search and rescue ourselves,” she said. “Because of those changes and the issues that have occurred in the past, I know that the sheriff has met with Superstition. I wasn’t at the meeting, so I don’t know all the goings on of all of the meeting. I do know that we’re not going to push away any resources, unless that resource becomes combative, or their participation becomes counterproductive because of whatever personal issues or internal conflicts there may be.”

Villar said the hope is that the sheriff’s office will use SSAR again. “We are hoping that they are a resource we’ll be able to use again,” she said. “Right now we have to work with them and their board of directors and create an intergovernmental agreement or memorandum of understanding about how these searches will function and who’s ultimately responsible and whatnot.” Superstition Search and Rescue is not a governmental entity but a 15-year-old all-volunteer organization that has worked with Pinal County during the last three sheriffs as well as an interim sheriff.

According to its Web site, the primary purpose of this volunteer organization is to assist individuals who may experience wilderness-related problems. These range from incidents such as falls or medical emergencies, lost or overdue hikers, heat or cold exposure and more. “Our group is highly skilled in wilderness first-aid, technical rescue, orienteering and tracking,” the Web site states.

“These skills enable Superstition Search and Rescue members to safely and efficiently move patients from the field to appropriate medical service in the event of injury, or to their families, in the case of a lost or overdue hiker. We currently have approximately 25 volunteers that sacrifice their time and personal resources to assist those in need.” The organization has saved nearly 2,000 lives and has pulled only one dead body from the wilderness in 10 years.

However, a representative from Superstition Search and Rescue declined to comment on the record for this story. Villar said SSAR isn’t the only rescue team that has saved lives. “Our sheriff’s office that’s out there has also saved lives,” Villar said. “Maricopa County and all of their search and rescue teams have saved lives. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of lives as well.

“I have no doubt or concerns that (sheriff’s office-affiliated) Pinal County Search and Rescue and the other five organizations that were participating did everything they could,” Villar said. “I have no doubt that all the sources were out there. They were technical rescue crews. They’ve been functioning for a very, very long time and have a very, very good track record.” She said they are “professional organizations with professional people working with them.”

Tate’s body was found only 150 yards from his motorcycle by an SSAR-trained man who was working for Sonoran Search and Rescue. The man was on the scene only 1 hour and 45 minutes when he discovered Tate’s body.

“It’s a shame that Mr. Tate did not survive,” Villar said."
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 21 2009 8:11 am

Has anyone else here had experience with the local SAR groups from an internal standpoint? I can tell you right now that many are no where near as competent or organized as they claim to be.
Last edited by Jeffshadows on Sep 21 2009 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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te_wa
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by te_wa » Sep 21 2009 9:48 am

SuperstitionGuy wrote:Tate’s body was found only 150 yards from his motorcycle by an SSAR-trained man who was working for Sonoran Search and Rescue. The man was on the scene only 1 hour and 45 minutes when he discovered Tate’s body.
i think that anwswers your question
:D

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chumley
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by chumley » Sep 21 2009 10:08 am

While this situation should be sorted out for future rescue attempts, in this case, it didn't affect the rescue, just the recovery. This guy had sadly died of a heart attack many hours before his wife called to report he hadn't returned.
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big_load
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by big_load » Sep 21 2009 10:16 pm

I hope they get it all ironed out before anyone requires more timely assistance. I've seen plenty of places where 200 yds might as well be 2 miles, so the distance doesn't bother me as much as it might at first glance, but organizational conflict is bad news.

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SuperstitionGuy
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Sep 22 2009 7:07 pm

The following is an article by the editor of the Apache Junction News that sheds a little more light about the goings on of the Pinal County Sheriff's Department and Superstition Search & Rescue. I cut and pasted it from a PDF file to Microsoft Word
A Life and Death Matter

By Ed Barker – editor of the Apache Junction news

Superstition Search And Rescue (SSAR) is this area’s premier search and rescue unit. They’re an all-volunteer service organization that has been assisting people in trouble in the Superstition Wilderness Area for more than 15 years. The organization is made up of approximately 25 volunteers who are highly skilled in wilderness first-aid, technical rescue, orienteering and tracking and who sacrifice their time and personal resources to assist those in need. They train nearly every weekend on their own time and they work without pay. They are supported by donations from people like you and me.

They’ve been saving hikers, hunters, cyclists, and other lost souls who have ventured into the rugged Superstition Mountains. They’ve found and saved more than 2,000 people in that time and the last dead body they hauled out was 10 years ago. That’s a pretty good record.

If you’re lost in the Superstition Mountains, Superstition Search and Rescue is who you want looking for you.

But if you’re going to get lost in the Superstitions, you best wait until Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeau gets over his snit with the area’s best search and rescue team.

After many years of cooperation with three previous sheriff’s administrations, Sheriff Babeau took office in January and shut down his department’s cooperation with SSAR. The SSAR search team was told to “Stand Down,” which basically means, “Go away, we don’t need you anymore.”

Last week, Sheriff Babeau led a search effort to locate a 53-year-old hiker who started out at Lost Dutchman State Park. After five days, 150 searchers and no results, on Tuesday, September 15, Sheriff Babeau began to scale down the search effort. Sources say Babeau was ready to fold the operation at dark. That’s when a volunteer from SSAR found the body about 6 p.m. after being on the scene for only 1 hour and 45 minutes. The hiker had collapsed and died only 150 yards from the parking lot. According to the autopsy he suffered a heart attack and had been lying there for four to five days while Sheriff Babeau looked for him.

In an apparent effort to cover up his embarrassment, Sheriff Babeau left SSAR out of the equation and gave credit to another unit for finding the body. The press now knows the truth. The man who found the body was attached to another search unit for the hour and 45 minutes it took him to find the body, but he trains with and has worked with SSAR for six years.

Still, the story was muddied as the media centered on “who found the body” and other smokescreen issues that trivialize the real issue.

It doesn’t matter who found the body or if someone is “pitting” the sheriff against SSAR. The sheriff is a grown man and has been out of high school for a long time. He is also the county’s top public safety officer and the issue here is that a hiker was missing in the Superstition Wilderness for five days and the sheriff refused to deploy the area’s best search team. The issue is “why”? And the question begs an answer.

Up to this point Sheriff Babeau has been unable to answer that question other than to stammer about “personality conflicts.”

The sheriff answers to us and he made the decision not to call in SSAR. It may or may not have cost someone their life. It may cost someone their life next time. If the sheriff ever comes up with a specific reason, it’s up to the public to decide if that reason is more important than someone’s life.
There is a an opinion poll in this online weekly edition regarding the Sheriff's Departments handling of this incident. You may want to go to their website and express your concerns.
A man's body may grow old, but inside his spirit can still be as young and restless as ever.
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big_load
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by big_load » Sep 22 2009 7:45 pm

What a shameful state of affairs! I can only hope that the sheriff's feelings have been misrepresented, but events don't point that way, nor does his response so far. A man in his position should be above letting "personality conflicts" put lives at risk and citing them as an excuse indicates both poor judgment and disdain for those he serves. Picking a fight with an organization that has saved over 2,000 people seems like a bad move politically, too, unless there are more than 2,000 SSAR-haters out there ready to change sides in the next election.

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Jeffshadows
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by Jeffshadows » Sep 22 2009 7:51 pm

He's the sheriff.
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big_load
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by big_load » Sep 22 2009 8:52 pm

Jeff MacE wrote:He's the sheriff.
True; it was his prerogative. Unless he learns to exercise it more gracefully, he might not have it very long.

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big_load
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by big_load » Sep 27 2009 9:00 pm

SuperstitionGuy wrote:There is a an opinion poll in this online weekly edition regarding the Sheriff's Departments handling of this incident. You may want to go to their website and express your concerns.
The results are in: 97% to 3%, one of the most lopsided polls I've ever seen. Today's AJ News has a sad list of recent problems in the Sheriff's department. It sounds like he's got a lot more important things to do than pick fights with SSAR, and it also sounds like he might not have have the best resources at his disposal.

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SuperstitionGuy
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Sep 28 2009 8:58 am

To bad this poll wasn't a recall election, and I wonder why they don't post how many people vote in these polls.

Has there been any other news about the Sheriff, the rescue (recovery actually) and his tiff with the SSAR?

And is it a fact that the SSAR guy is currently working with SSAR and not just trained by SSAR and assisting Sonoran SAR?

When are we going to hear the rest of the story about this so called "Tiff"?

Is it going to take another body or two in the Supers to convince the Sheriff to once again begin using SSAR? :scared:
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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azbackpackr
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by azbackpackr » Sep 28 2009 9:06 am

Email him this thread so he'll know people are talking about it.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.

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thebrayer
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Re: Search and Rescue

Post by thebrayer » Nov 08 2009 6:37 pm

Seems that this guy was dead before the search started. The only reason they came back Tuesday to do a search near the trailhead was a hiker that had seen Kelly on the trail saw him hiking back towards the trailhead while he was still up on top. This person then went out of town and didn't hear about the search until Sunday or Monday and called the authorities. They then did a hasty search near the trailhead and found the body. Tonto Rim out of Gila county sent a team of five down. Check out some of the pictures at trsar.org

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