SDMRT 2017-11 Joshua Tree Mutual Aid Ops Report

2017-11 Joshua Tree Mutual Aid

July 31, 2017 through Aug 1, 2017 (SDMRT participation dates)

Submitted by Bill McNaul

SDMRT Responders:

  • July 31 2017: Bill McNaul, Pete Jenkins, Marshall Masser, AJ (Andrew) Gordon, and Brenda Stevens?
  • Aug 1 2017: Bill McNaul

SDMRT ITC: Dennis Peck

Other responding organizations: In addition to San Diego, San Bernardo, JOSAR, BORSTAR, CHP and possibly other counties, approximately 100 personnel on 31 July 2017.

Short Summary:

  • Type of callout: Full callout, but search dogs limited to Type 1.
    • Out-of-county Cal OES mutual aid, assisting San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Joshua Tree Station
  • Type of search: Search for 2 missing hikers
  • Location: CP at JT Sheriff’s Station
  • Earliest time of activity: Operational Period 6, 31 July 2017, Briefing 0630 (Scheduled callout went out at 1531 hours 30 July)
  • Ending time (10-22 or time when SDMRT members were finished): 1 August early afternoon.
  • Operational periods: Initial callout was for Operational Period 6, for 31 July
  • Information about the subject:
    • Number/names of subjects: 2 missing subjects, Joseph Orbeso 21 y/o and Rachel Nguyen 20 y/o
    • Ages: 20 and 21 years old
    • Level of fitness and preparedness: Good to excellent, “experienced”
    • Mental status (cognitive development, dementia, depressed, suicidal): No known issues
    • Injuries, if applicable: Not known
    • How were they found (family friend, Sheriff, self-signaling, bystander): Subjects both still missing as of this report, and search continues as of at least 6 August.
  • Any rescuers injured: No SDMRT members injured, but on 31 July 2017, other SAR personnel were airlifted to base with suspected heat stroke
  • Aircraft used: CHP, and others?

Descriptive Report

TIME LINE (times are approximate)

July 27 am: Two subjects leave their Airbnb lodging to Joshua Tree NP to do some hiking.

July 27 1600: Subjects cell phone ping from the Park subsequent to the alert.

July 27 pm: Subjects assumed to have vanished at this time.

July 28 1300: Authorities alerted by lodging manager when they failed to check out leaving all their belongings in the room.

July 28 1600: Subjects’ vehicle located at the parking lot for the Maze trailhead (see attached maps). Tracks were found and searchers followed them with little success. JOSAR, CHP Helicopters, and Dog teams were involved searching into the night.

July 29-30: JOSAR, San Bernardino Sheriffs, CHP, and dogs searched the Maze area with no success.

July 31: SDMRT joins JOSAR, SB SAR, BORSTAR in Mutual aid effort. 5 SDMRT members (B McNaul M Masser, AJ Gordon, P Jenkins, and Kristin Kuhn) and 2 SDSDSAR reported from San Diego Area and formed two teams 611 and 612 lead by McNaul and Masser respectively. More than 100 searchers were involved. In the afternoon teams 611 and 612 were combined for a open line search south east of the LKP. Towards the late afternoon the combined team detected decomp in the Maze area but nothing was found. Dog teams were sent in. Although searchers could smell the odor the search dogs did not indicate.

Aug 1: A limited mutual aid search was conducted. SDMRT had one member (B McNaul) and SDSDSAR contributed one member (Mark) to a four-man team to search a canyon north of the Maze trail while the dog teams continued to search the Maze cave area where the odor was detected. Other search teams searched the caves where the odor seemed to be concentrated with nothing remarkable. Search was suspended for the day by early afternoon.

Aug 2: Search continues. No SDMRT participation was required or contributed.

2017-12 Joshua Tree Mutual Aid

July 31, 2017 through Aug 1, 2017 (SDMRT participation dates)

Submitted by Bill McNaul

SDMRT Responders:

  • July 31 2017: Bill McNaul, Pete Jenkins, Marshall Masser, AJ (Andrew) Gordon, and Brenda Stevens?
  • Aug 1 2017: Bill McNaul

SDMRT ITC: Dennis Peck

Other responding organizations: In addition to San Diego, San Bernardo, JOSAR, BORSTAR, CHP and possibly other counties, approximately 100 personnel on 31 July 2017.

Short Summary:

  • Type of callout: Full callout, but search dogs limited to Type 1.
    • Out-of-county Cal OES mutual aid, assisting San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Joshua Tree Station
  • Type of search: Search for 2 missing hikers
  • Location: CP at JT Sheriff’s Station
  • Earliest time of activity: Operational Period 6, 31 July 2017, Briefing 0630 (Scheduled callout went out at 1531 hours 30 July)
  • Ending time (10-22 or time when SDMRT members were finished): 1 August early afternoon.
  • Operational periods: Initial callout was for Operational Period 6, for 31 July
  • Information about the subject:
    • Number/names of subjects: 2 missing subjects, Joseph Orbeso 21 y/o and Rachel Nguyen 20 y/o
    • Ages: 20 and 21 years old
    • Level of fitness and preparedness: Good to excellent, “experienced”
    • Mental status (cognitive development, dementia, depressed, suicidal): No known issues
    • Injuries, if applicable: Not known
    • How were they found (family friend, Sheriff, self-signaling, bystander): Subjects both still missing as of this report, and search continues as of at least 6 August.
  • Any rescuers injured: No SDMRT members injured, but on 31 July 2017, other SAR personnel were airlifted to base with suspected heat stroke
  • Aircraft used: CHP, and others?

Descriptive Report

TIME LINE (times are approximate)

July 27 am: Two subjects leave their Airbnb lodging to Joshua Tree NP to do some hiking.

July 27 1600: Subjects cell phone ping from the Park subsequent to the alert.

July 27 pm: Subjects assumed to have vanished at this time.

July 28 1300: Authorities alerted by lodging manager when they failed to check out leaving all their belongings in the room.

July 28 1600: Subjects’ vehicle located at the parking lot for the Maze trailhead (see attached maps). Tracks were found and searchers followed them with little success. JOSAR, CHP Helicopters, and Dog teams were involved searching into the night.

July 29-30: JOSAR, San Bernardino Sheriffs, CHP, and dogs searched the Maze area with no success.

July 31: SDMRT joins JOSAR, SB SAR, BORSTAR in Mutual aid effort. 5 SDMRT members (B McNaul M Masser, AJ Gordon, P Jenkins, and Kristin Kuhn) and 2 SDSDSAR reported from San Diego Area and formed two teams 611 and 612 lead by McNaul and Masser respectively. More than 100 searchers were involved. In the afternoon teams 611 and 612 were combined for a open line search south east of the LKP. Towards the late afternoon the combined team detected decomp in the Maze area but nothing was found. Dog teams were sent in. Although searchers could smell the odor the search dogs did not indicate.

Aug 1: A limited mutual aid search was conducted. SDMRT had one member (B McNaul) and SDSDSAR contributed one member (Mark) to a four-man team to search a canyon north of the Maze trail while the dog teams continued to search the Maze cave area where the odor was detected. Other search teams searched the caves where the odor seemed to be concentrated with nothing remarkable. Search was suspended for the day by early afternoon.

Aug 2: Search continues. No SDMRT participation was required or contributed.