What I told my son to do if Search and Rescue were ever looking for me.

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Jay R

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Recently there was a news item about a plane that crashed in the sea and they were looking for survivors. News said they were calling off the search till the morning. I sat my 12 year old son down and said to him...

"Samuel, if I am ever lost at sea or in the desert, mountains, wherever, don't let them call the search off when it gets dark. In fact, tell them to specifically look for me at night because wherever I am and whatever condition I'm in I can absolutely guarantee you that I'll have at least one moderately powerful torch on me and they will be able to spot me from a huge distance away."

It just seemed like good sense to make that clear to him right!
 

Nephron44

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Speaking from experience, search and rescue can get dangerous at night, depending on location and conditions. They most likely are not pausing because it’s dark, but rather that the risk to the rescuers is too high.

Also, if you were in a plane crash in the ocean, and you happened to survive, I doubt your light would still be with you and working, no matter how secure you thought it was.
 

wosser

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Hmm, I detect a potential conflict of interests here...

Hypothetically, would your son stand to inherit your flashlight collection if (heaven's forbid) you went MIA? :D
 

archimedes

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Would OP mind if we move this thread to "Adventures and Quests" where it might get more visibility for this topic ?
 

Nephron44

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Search and rescue at night has gotten much easier and safer do to drones.

The county I work for has one drone that I know of. Large wealthy counties, sure, drones make sense. However, every S and R I have ever done did not have access to drones. And a plane in the ocean? Underwater drones are even more expensive.
 

MX421

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The county I work for has one drone that I know of. Large wealthy counties, sure, drones make sense. However, every S and R I have ever done did not have access to drones. And a plane in the ocean? Underwater drones are even more expensive.

Technically an underwater drone would be an ROV and yes, they are way more expensive. Consider that if you managed to survive a crash in the water, its doubtful you'd be able to breath underwater...
 

Nephron44

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Technically an underwater drone would be an ROV and yes, they are way more expensive. Consider that if you managed to survive a crash in the water, its doubtful you'd be able to breath underwater...

My point exactly. Given the limited resources and dangers of S and R at night, it is understandable why they call them off until morning.

That being said, if crews are able and willing, then yes, they should carry on efforts as long as possible. However, I understand both sides...
 

Overmind

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Jay R, you did very well to tell him that.

I would of done the same. I always have at least a powerful green laser with me at night no matter where I go so I definitely can signal from quite a distance if needed.
 

Jay R

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Archimedes, sure you can move it.

I didn't actually think the post would generate much interest as it was just a half tongue-in-cheek reaction to a news item. It wasn't till a little while after I told him that I thought that, yes, actually, it would be a good move.

Nephron, The news item was about a light aircraft going down rather than an airliner. Something you are more likely to get out from before it sinks. I pretty much guarantee that I'd have at least one light on me as I almost always have at the very least a 900 lumen Nitecore EA11 or EC11 in my pocket and always when I'm on any kind of public transport be it ferry, bus, plane... The small size would ensure it stays deep in my pocket.
I half remember seeing some years ago (10-15 years?) a test on lights visible at a distance at night. I seem to remember that it said that even a low powered flashlight could be seen from several miles on a moonless night. Does anyone know of a link to any proper test?
Point made about the rescuers putting themselves at risk but if it's a case of standing on a cliff top with binoculars looking out at where the ferry sank or looking off the edge of road to see where the bus threw it's passengers into the overgrowth as it rolled down the mountain side, they should still be willing. And remember, sea searches are often done via boat so no additional risk there.
Even if they didn't find me alive I suspect the news item would end "...his body found with the flashlight cord still wrapped around his wrist."

Wosser, I'm not worried about my son wanting my lights so much than the rather generous life insurance my company has. That may persuade him not to mention anything to the rescue team. I remember when I sat the wife down and told her what she would get and how she should spend/invest it. Next day I got food poisoning. (True story). She had cooked a separate dinner using leftover for her to eat so she was fine!
 
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Lumen83

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Search and rescue at night has gotten much easier and safer do to drones.

I'm sure in some areas, and in some conditions this is true. Neither of the teams I am involve with have employed them yet. I haven't heard of them being used in this area yet at all. From what I hear, most of them still have issues with less than ideal conditions. Thick forest canopy, high winds, heavy snow, etc. Which, are the conditions that tend to lead to people needing rescue in the first place. Now, I imagine that in the future the technology will progress and become more widely available. But from what I know, it is still in its infancy with limited availability and ability.
 

archimedes

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Archimedes, sure you can move it.

I didn't actually think the post would generate much interest as it was just a half tongue-in-cheek reaction to a news item. It wasn't till a little while after I told him that I thought that, yes, actually, it would be a good move....

Done, thanks. Good topic for Adventures and Quests indeed ....

Anyone here with experience using SatPhones, like the inReach ?

Avalanche transceivers ?

Something like the Breitling Emergency beacon ?

I know there are many here on CPF who participate in S & R, but anyone willing to share their experience(s) of being found by a search party ?
 
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Nephron44

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Nephron, The news item was about a light aircraft going down rather than an airliner. Something you are more likely to get out from before it sinks. I pretty much guarantee that I'd have at least one light on me as I almost always have at the very least a 900 lumen Nitecore EA11 or EC11 in my pocket and always when I'm on any kind of public transport be it ferry, bus, plane... The small size would ensure it stays deep in my pocket.
I half remember seeing some years ago (10-15 years?) a test on lights visible at a distance at night. I seem to remember that it said that even a low powered flashlight could be seen from several miles on a moonless night. Does anyone know of a link to any proper test?
Point made about the rescuers putting themselves at risk but if it's a case of standing on a cliff top with binoculars looking out at where the ferry sank or looking off the edge of road to see where the bus threw it's passengers into the overgrowth as it rolled down the mountain side, they should still be willing. And remember, sea searches are often done via boat so no additional risk there.
Even if they didn't find me alive I suspect the news item would end "...his body found with the flashlight cord still wrapped around his wrist."

It’s just not that simple, it never is. Light aircraft, heavy aircraft, doesn’t matter...it’s never straightforward. In a perfect situation with perfect conditions, your logic is completely reasonable. However, situations are never perfect.

I’m not trying to be bleak...I just feel like so many people have this notion that life saving and rescue is so simple and straightforward...it’s not. I challenge everyone to take even a basic course on wilderness or even urban rescue, and then see if your thoughts change...I would put money in they will...
 

Chauncey Gardiner

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......... it was just a half tongue-in-cheek reaction to a news item. the flashlight cord still wrapped around his wrist."

......the rather generous life insurance my company has. ..... I remember when I sat the wife down and told her what she would get ........ Next day I got food poisoning. She had cooked a separate dinner using leftover for her to eat so she was fine!


Jay, I knew you were relaying the story tongue n cheek and therefore not an actual plan for your rescue. However, that's a very alarming anecdote about your wife's separate dinner. :whistle: Pray tell, any further close calls that only befell you? :aaa:

~ Chance
 

Owen

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Old thread, but I like the idea behind the topic, because it's based on an idiosyncrasy.
I'm playing in the woods on an almost weekly basis, and leave a trip plan with family, so they know whatever route I'm planning on hiking.
I also carry a Garmin InReach Mini to send an "All ok, making camp." message, and has an SOS function to call for rescue.
Assuming that does not work, and SAR ever has to look for me, just having a route based on established trails may put them in the right vicinity, but that's not where I'm likely to get hurt, or be.
I actually have a "how to find me" message for SAR written down, that's in a drawer at my parents'. It was written before getting the Garmin, but I'm wary of trusting that thing too much, and should probably remind them the note is there.
The reason I focused on "idiosyncrasy", which is defined as "a mode of behavior or way of thought peculiar to an individual", is that mine is the very thing that will make me hard to find.
Because I leave the trail. A lot.
Out West, I mostly stay with trails in the mountains, but somewhere like the high desert, that means exploring side or finger canyons and accessible slot canyons, following washes the trail passes close by or crosses, then comes near again later.
In the east, it usually means following water, or cutting cross country through stuff the trail goes around, and rejoining it later. Going up creekbeds and drainages, dropping into steep gorges where unseen water can be heard flowing, stuff like that.
I might be in sight of the trail, or a couple miles away from it, and if it's the latter, they're not going to find me by following it.


btw, knowing their habits can come in handy when dealing with someone who has Alzheimer's, too. My friend's grandfather would "escape", and often as not turn up at his favorite Mexican restaurant, where he claimed the family refused to let him go(they took him 3x per week), and daily insisted on being taken.
 
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