Multiple stranded drivers are OK thanks to repeat search and rescue efforts over the last few days in the Ochoco National Forest.
Here are the details from the Crook County Sheriff’s Office:
On Saturday January 28th at about 12:30 p.m. SAR members who were engaged in an active training exercise within the National Forest. Received information from Crook County 9-1-1 of a stranded motorist in the area of Big Summit Prairie on Forrest Service Road 42. A SAR hasty team was dispatched to the area to assess the situation. The stranded subjects were located and found stuck in heavy snow accumulations. Sometime after SAR members arrived in the area the stranded subjects were able to dig-out and free themselves without any additional assistance.
On Monday January 30th at about 6:15 p.m. SAR was notified of a stranded motorist in the area of the Walton Lake campground. The stranded motorist was able to communicate with emergency responders with the use of a satellite SOS device. The satellite device provided GPS coordinates as to the subject’s location. Three rescue vehicles including a specialized tracked side-by-side were deployed to the area. The stranded subjects were located without incident and transported back to Prineville.
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The stranded motorist was prepared for the elements and had a reliable form of alternate communication when they were without cell service. Due to the subjects planning and preparation, their rescue was successful and without incident.
On February 1, 2023, at about 8:00 p.m. Crook County Sheriff Office received a 9-1-1 call regarding stranded motorists. Due to the weak signal, no GPS coordinates were readily available and no call back was possible. Utilizing 9-1-1 mapping software a general location was obtained for the stranded subject.
An eight member SAR team responded to the call utilizing snowmobiles and a specialized tracked side-by-side near the area of Independent Mine. The stranded subjects were located on a groomed snowmobile trail they had reportedly driven onto in error.
After arriving SAR discovered two vehicles were stuck at that location in heavy snow accumulations; with a total of five young adult occupants. It was reported the first vehicle became stuck earlier in the day, and the second later in the afternoon after the second vehicle came looking for their missing friends. All five occupants were transported back to Prineville where they were dropped at their various residences.
Crook County Sheriff’s Office SAR Team has responded to seven search and rescue missions since the beginning of this year. Crook County Sheriff’s Office SAR would like to remind everyone, when you are traveling, especially in the mountains, to let someone know where you are going, when you will be back, and stick to your plan. Take adequate food, water and warm clothing in case you get stuck, regardless of anticipated road conditions.