September 15 2018
AVSAR Responds to Mutual Aid Request from Saguache County SAR
At 0900hrs AVSAR personnel was contacted by Dispatch in regards to a Mutual Aid Request from Saguache County SAR. They had an ill hiker on Kit Carson. Flight for life Colorado was doing an aerial search to confirm hikers location and The Colorado National Guard was en route with 2 Blackhawks. The National Guard crews would attempt a hoist of the hiker and if unseccessful, SAR members would be inserted to an Upper Landing Zone to hike in to the location and begin a technical rescue.
The Hoist technique was successful by the Colorado National Guard and SAR team members were told to stand down. The hiker was transferred from the Blackhawks to the care of Flight for Life crew members in Westcliffe.
August 9, 2018:
At 815 hours AVSAR personnel was contacted by the Alamosa County Sheriff, Robert Jackson, about an injured hiker in the hourglass couloir on Little Bear Peak. The all volunteer team met at the Lake Como rd. trailhead at 0930hours and set up a command center with Sheriff Robert Jackson. A REACH Air Medical helicopter was at the command center at 0955hours, where the team and flight crew gathered and cane up with a plan for the day. A total of 4 teams would be dispatched up the mountain. By 1208hours, the REACH helicopter had inserted 4 AVSAR Team embers successfully to the Upper Landing zone above Lake Como . While teams were being inserted by helicopter, a specialty 4×4 truck team was sent up Lake Como Road carrying 4 AVSAR Team Members.
While teams were being dispatched up the mountain, incident command was able to continue communicating with the reporting party about the subjects condition and their exact GPS location. The party of 4 was located at the top of the Hourglass couloir on Little Bear Peak, above the fixed ropes around 13,770ft elevation. Team 1 made contact with the subject and his party at 1416hours. By 1503hours, Team 1 and Team 2 had a haul system in place to lower the subject and his party to the bottom of the Hourglass safely. At 1647hours, Teams 1 and 2 were clear of the Hourglass with the Subject and his party members and they all began their descent down to the upper landing zone where two specialty 4×4 trucks were waiting. All teams, with the subject and his party, were off the mountain at incident command by 2022hours. The injured male hiker refused all medical treatment from Alamosa EMS.
July 14, 2018:
In the late morning of July 14, 2018, AVSAR was contacted by the Costilla County Sheriff’s Department in regards to a missing female hiker on Culebra Peak. The all volunteer team met with the reporting party at the Costilla County Sheriff’s Office to obtain a last known area for the subject and any additional relevant information. A group of 4 hikers had ascended Culebra Peak, but upon descending, were separated during a quick moving thunderstorm. The group of 4 hikers became two groups of two. The first group of two stayed together and descended during the storm safely. While, the second group of two were split up due to terrain features and very low visibility from the storm. The first individual hiker of the second group made it out safely with the assistance of the Cielo Vista Ranch Manager, while the second hiker became lost by apparently descending the wrong drainage that is between the False summit and Red Mountain.
After gathering all pertinent information, AVSAR sent out a team of 4 hasty team members. Flight For Life had been searching the ridges and drainages from the air all morning to early afternoon. Flight for Life was relieved by REACH Air Medical in the late afternoon and they continued to help with the search. The 4 AVSAR team members heard a voice about 90 minutes into hiking towards the last seen area of the hiker. At that point, the ground team split into two teams of two. Knowing that the subject had already spent one night unprepared on the mountain, the hope was she went down to tree line to find shelter. Team 1 descended to treeline,, while Team 2 traversed higher towards the last seen area. Team 1 verified they were now hearing a woman’s voice. Approximately 30 minutes later, Team 2 saw a flash of light low in the drainage, below the North Face of Red Mountain and verofoef with binoculars that it was the missing Female hiker. Team 2 guided Team 1 and the REACH Air Medical helicopter to the subjects location from approximately 1000ft above the drainage floor. Team 1 and Reach Air Medical Flight Staff simultaneously had eyes on the subject around 2030hours. At 2130hours, Team 1, with the subject, met the REACH Air Flight nurse and transferred the subject to the care of REACH Air Medical. The subject had sustained minor injuries, due to a slight fall and was treated and released the same night from the hospital.
April 30, May 1, 2018:
In the late evening of April 29, 201i, AVSAR Personnel was contacted by the Colorado State Patrol about a missing female hiker in the south Zapata Lake Trail area. AVSAR personnel sent out an official call out to all team members to meet the next morning, April 30, at 0600hours at the South Zapata Lake trailhead. A mutual aid request was submitted through CSRB to request more team member help for such a large area. Team members from Custer county Search and Rescue, Fremont county Search and Rescue, Chaffee County-South Search and Rescue and Rio Grande search and Rescue responded to the request. Teams searched on the ground all day until dark. Flight for Life assisted in the search by doing multiple helicopter flyover searching the vast area. Once dark, the Alamosa County Sherrif, Robert Jackson, requested a fixed wing aircraft with a FLIR device to fly over and look for any heat signature. No heat signature was found and teams would return to the site the next morning at 0630 hours on May 1, 2018.
On the second day, May 1,2018, teams began up the trailhead at 0630hours to continue search along the trail and creek bottoms in search of the missing female hiker, Selene Jara. Unfortunately, Selene was found deceased later that afternoon.
March 25, 2018 Part 2:
In the late morning of March 25, 2018, while searching in Costilla County for the missing man, Duane Lopez, AVSAR Personnel was contacted by the Conejos County Sheriff’s Office to request assistance with the search for a missing hiker near the La Jara Reservoir. AVSAR team members began travelling to conejos County around 1400hrs to begin searching in Conejos. An ATV team of 2 was dispatched immediately to known footprints of the missing hiker and to begin searching from there. After searching for approximately 90minutes on the ATV through the Hot Creek Area, teams were advised the missing hiker and hitched a ride out from a family he saw near Jacob’s Hill and got a ride to the town of La Jara.
March 25, 2018:
AVSAR Team members returned to the town of San Luis, CO to provide mutual aid to Costilla County in the search for Duane Lopez, a missing at-risk-adult. AVSAR helped coordinate family members and team members for an extensive search around the town of San Luis, CO, where Duane Lopez was last seen. AVSAR had ground teams and an ATV team searching. Unfortunately, days later Duane Lopez was found deceased.
March 21, 2018:
On March 21, 2018, AVSAR Personnel was contacted by the Costilla County Sheriff’s Office in regards to the search for a missing at-risk-adult near San Luis, CO. AVSAR team members met at the Costilla County Sheriff’s Office at 1630hrs to begin a urban/field search. Search teams remained searching around San Luis, CO until dark, with no sign of the missing man.