Rescue stories



Pilot walks away from engine-failure landing near McGrath

by IERCC Duty Officer on August 29, 2013

Alaska News - Zaz Hollander - August 29, 2013

The engine on Will Johnson’s float-equipped Cessna 206 cut out a thousand feet above the tree-studded tundra near McGrath.

The plane started losing altitude. Johnson let it.

The 66-year-old commercial pilot knew enough to push the plane’s nose down and let gravity take over.

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Danger In Cherry Creek

by IERCC Duty Officer on September 25, 2013

Several friends headedout for a quick lap of kayaking in California’s Cherry Bomb gorge. Gear packed and ready for the water, Ben, who had bought a SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger™ a few days before, tossed the device in his backpack as an afterthought. “The camp was only 10 minutes away and it was just a quick trip,” recalled Ben. “I didn’t think we would need SPOT, but I figured I’ve got it, I might as well take it.”

Ben, sidelined from a previous injury, watched from a ledge as his friends passed by.

Dave, one of the fittest and strongest members of the group, was stuck in a pothole and wasn’t coming out. After what seemed like eternity, his capsized boat washed slowly around the corner and over the weir. Another paddler somehow managed to get to Dave and paddle out of the hole. Once out of the water, Dave began to receive CPR.

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The Tajik Evacuation

by IERCC Duty Officer on September 25, 2013

Last week, a call for help swept across social media and onto the websites of national magazines and hometown newspapers. On Sept. 30, five American kayakers had activated a satellite-beacon distress signal in a remote part of eastern Tajikistan. Other than the team’s geographic coordinates, the message contained no information. Expedition kayaker Fred Norquist summed up the general feeling in his Facebook feed on Oct. 1: “This does not sound good,” he wrote. “Please share.”

The paddlers, Nate and Matthew Klema, Ben Luck, Charles King and Cooper Lambla, had been hiking over the 16,800-foot Takhtakorum Pass to reach the Musku River, a sliver of whitewater that cuts through the heart of the Pamirs, the third-highest mountain range in the world. The region’s extreme remoteness would have felt familiar to the kayakers, all experienced expedition paddlers who had spent the previous two months paddling in Siberia and Kyrgyzstan.

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Off-Road Adventure Takes a Dangerous Turn

by IERCC Duty Officer on September 25, 2013

Frank and three of his friends got together for a day of off-road riding in the California forest. The friends were all expert quad riders, knowing both their vehicles and the terrain. With packed lunches and dressed for cool weather, off they went to explore.

OffRoadAdventureTakesAlong the way, they encountered a large log and decided to ride across it. Frank successfully crossed first, followed by Sam. While crossing, Sam accidentally hit his throttle wide open. His quad bucked sideways and Sam’s friends watched in disbelief as he fell 70 feet.

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Trapped In Australian High Country

by IERCC Duty Officer on September 25, 2013

Colin, an avid motorcyclist, purchased a SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger™ during a motorcycle tour in South America to let the folks back home keep up with his progress. He also liked the idea of having a 911 button in the event of a critical emergency in an area without cellular coverage. Having just purchased his SPOT device in July 2012, Colin probably was not expecting to use the S.O.S. feature so soon.

A few months later, Colin was looking forward to enjoying a beautiful Australian summer day biking on the scenic trails. He checked his bike, packed up his gear, which included his new SPOT device, and headed off into the Victorian High Country with one of his mates. The friends were enjoying the scenery when Colin lost his balance and fell downhill. The fall resulted in the breaking of his collar bone.

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Three Friends Story of Survival

by IERCC Duty Officer on September 25, 2013

Aage, Kory and Randall had gone on many adventures together. Four-wheeler riding, RVing, international travel and exploring the North American outback were all on their activity list.

Their love of adventure is what brought them together for a snowmobiling ride in the mountains of Northern Utah on January 10, 2013. The men had no reason to believe this trip would be any different than the many others they had been on before. The area they planned to visit was one where Aage had previously been, and they looked forward to being home in plenty enough time to tell their loved ones good night. Although the group had no reason to suspect any danger, Randall decided to re-activate his SPOT device before leaving. After sending a test message, the trio headed out, not knowing that Randall’s small action would soon have a significant effect on their lives.

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