SDMRT 2020-07 Jacinto Mutual Aid

SDMRT Operations Report 2020-07
Limited Callout for Type 1 Searchers – Mutual Aid for Riverside County, CA
CalOES 2020-LAW-9802
Nathaniel Mulkey
10 March 2020

SDMRT Responders: Richard Yocum (OL), Will Pisarello, Nick McGuiness, and Bill McNaul

SDMRT ITC: Hugo Bermudez

Other Responding Organizations: SAR teams from Riverside, LA, and Orange Counties, and Sierra Madre, approximately 18 persons overall; Ernie Cowan of SDSDSAR provided transportation for McNaul and Yocum; and local Sheriff’s Dept. personnel.

Short Summary:

  • Type of callout: Limited to 8 Type 1 searchers, snow & ice trained only
  • Out of county: Mutual aid for Riverside County, CA
  • Type of search: Rescue of injured hiker
  • Environment: Forest wilderness in San Bernardino National Forest (Federal) and San Jacinto State Park (State of California), 6,500’ to 7,800’ elevation
  • Location
    • LKP near Deer Springs Primitive Camp
    • CP at Marion Mountain Campground, near trailhead of Marion Mountain Trail
    • Subject “found” at Deer Springs Primitive Camp, based on GPS coordinates provide by subject via his InReach
  • Operational periods, if applicable
    • Earliest time of activity: Callout on March 10, 2020 at 0710, and ending time about 1330 when SDMRT members completed assignment and subject had been brought back to the trailhead
  • Information about the subject:
    • Number/names of subject: Single subject, Nathaniel Mulkey
    • Age, Genders: 18-year-old male, 6’ 4”, 180 lbs
    • Level of fitness and experience: Fit PCT through-hiker with tent, sleeping bag and food to spend the night
    • Mental status: Good
    • Injuries: Fallen, resulting in injured hip initially non ambulatory, head injury
    • How were they found: Subject’s InReach activation
  • Any rescuers injured: None known
  • Aircraft used: None due to weather

Descriptive Report:

Subject was northbound on a through hike of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Upon arriving in the vicinity of the Marion Mountain trail junction the subject fell, injuring his hip and destroying his cell phone. It was reported that he also suffered a head injuring in the fall. The cell phone was apparently his sole source of navigation. Being injured and not sure of his location the subject activated his InReach device and SAR was subsequently called out. Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit (RMRU) was mobilized to access the subject and administer aid and transportation out to care. Believing that the subject was not ambulatory and was experiencing snow conditions, RMRU chose to bring two litters, one for snow and one a standard stokes type. With aircraft grounded due to weather and anticipating a difficult litter carryout down the steep, narrow trail, snow-covered and icy in patches, mutual aid was requested to provide additional personnel. While awaiting rescue the subject sheltered in place in his tent and was able to recover somewhat from his injury. By the time RMRU reached him, he determined that he could walk out with assistance.

Meanwhile our team of 4 having arrived from San Diego was assigned to hike toward the 4 other teams bringing out the subject to assist in a carryout. Shortly after starting up the Marian Mountain Trail it was determined that the subject would probably not need to be carried out. Our team continued up to meet other SAR Teams and be available to relieve those bringing the litters down. All teams returned to the CP at approximately the same time.

Lessons Learned/ Suggestions for Future Operations:

  • Very little information was provided with the callout. This makes it difficult for the ITC/OL to assure the safety of members intending to participate, and for members to be certain they are taking the necessary equipment.
  • RMRU still has the tone squelch issue with their radios for 155.160. RMRU lent a single radio to the SDMRT team for the operation. No spare battery was available. SDMRT team was also able to communicate with CP using Lt. Cowan on direct as a relay.