Mono County

Search and Rescue Team Operation: Aid to lost backpacker

To:      All Media Partners

From:  Jennifer M. Hansen, Public Information Officer

Date:   July 22, 2014

RE:      Search and Rescue Team Operation: Aid to lost backpacker

On the evening of Friday, July 18, 2014, at approximately 9:00pm, Mono County Sheriff’s Dispatch received a call regarding a lost backpacker in the area of Cora Lake.

A 22-year-old backpacker was separated from his friends on the Pacific Crest Trail and became lost in the general area of Cora Lake, approximately 12 trail miles south of Hwy 108. The backpacker was able to send a text message to his parents requesting help. The Mono County Sheriff Search and Rescue (SAR) team responded to locate the lost backpacker.

Search teams reported to the area and were given assignments covering three routes toward Cora Lake. A California Highway Patrol (CHP) H40 helicopter, from Fresno, was requested to join the search. SAR team members received another text message from the backpacker with a more precise location. SAR team members communicated this information with the H40 helicopter to spot the backpacker from the air. In the rapidly deteriorating weather and increasing winds, the crew of the H40 helicopter located the backpacker, extricated him, and transported him to the Mammoth/Yosemite Airport in late afternoon of Saturday, July 19. The backpacker was uninjured and did not require medical attention.

SAR ground teams were in the field for 14 hours and logged over 120 hiking miles.