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Tuesday
Aug052008

Over-the-Side Recovery at Red Rock Wall, Hwy 18

Wednesday July 30, 2008 about 1530 hours the call comes for an over the side operation. At the time it was not clear whether this was a recovery or a rescue of an injury. Upon arrival at Red Rock Wall on Highway18 just west of Rimforest the following agencies were on scene. Caltrans, CHP, Crest Forest Fire, Rim of the World. net, Forest Service, and SB County Sheriff- (Aviation, Law Enforcement, and SAR {possibly also COP}). The hour had become late and several members of the RimSAR technical rescue team were on vacation. San Gorgonio SAR was called as assistance to RimSAR should the need arise and Crest Forest Fire had already set up a mainline and belay station.

The information that the victim had been missing since the evening of 7/28/08 was obtained. This was determined from the front license plate found at the scene. The car was not visible from the highway but was subsequently found by 40 King. A medic was lowered to the scene of the car and the subject was pronounced dead. Since the operation became much less urgent it was decided to postpone the recovery until the next morning. One of the deputy coordinators of RimSAR and 3 RimSAR members were then flown to an LZ about 200 vertical feet and a third of a mile from the site for assessment and securing of the site for the night. This team made its way to the site flagging the way through fairly dense scrub oak, poison oak, and white thorn. It was decided that the most prudent course of action for the morning would be to request a trail crew from Forest Service to cut much of the brush between the LZ and the car. Then Fire could come in accompanied by CHP and the coroner. All of these tasks were accomplished by 1000 hours the following morning and Fire was then able to begin the extraction of the deceased from the car. This took 50 minutes. The victim was moved to a clear area just above the crash site along with the Firefighters extraction gear. The gear was taken out first at which point all ground personnel except 2 air medics were released to head back down to the LZ. Then the victim was extracted, followed by the air medics, and lastly the helos came to the LZ to extract the coroner, CHP, Fire and RimSAR. Arriving at the top of the mountain it was great to see San Gorgonio SAR waiting around to make sure we got out. Thanks guys-great to have you covering for us. The victim was between 1100-1200 feet below the highway and most of the terrain between her and the top was fairly unstable.

RimSAR extends many thanks to all who assisted and made the operation go smoothly. The list includes Caltrans, Forest Service, CHP, Crest Forest Fire, the coroner (D. Van Norman), and most of all the San Bernardino Sheriffs people-Law enforcement, Aviation, and all you SAR people out there. We could never have done this alone.

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