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home : current news : current news October 20, 2017

10/3/2017 12:09:00 PM
Rescuers help lost hiker on Tam McArthur Rim

Search and rescue personnel assisted a 39-year-old Redmond woman who got lost last week while hiking on Tam McArthur Rim.

The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office reports that 911 dispatch received a non-emergency call from Vanessa Collier at about 4:39 p.m. on Wednesday, September 27. Collier reported that she had been hiking for about 2-3 hours on the Tam McArthur Rim trail near Broken Top and was lost. Collier advised she was dressed for the weather, had food and water, but her shoes were wet. Collier's cell phone battery at the time of call was at 25 percent.

The call was lost and dispatch received a 911 call from Collier who reported her cell phone battery was now 20 percent, but she had a portable charger that would be able to extend the battery's life. Collier was patched through to a Deschutes County Sheriff's Office (DCSO) Special Services Deputy, who attempted to help orient her as to her whereabouts as well as made a plan to pick her up at the Broken Top Trailhead south of her current location. The cell reception at Collier's location was poor and attempts to text Collier additional maps or extraction routes were unsuccessful.

Approximately one hour later, dispatch received a 911 hang-up call from Collier and it was later learned her charging device was not functional and her cell phone battery had died. Three DCSO Search And Rescue volunteers and two DCSO deputies responded to the last known location for Collier and began searching into the night. Although the trail where Collier had begun her hike at Three Creek Trailhead was dry, the trail near the bottom of Broken Top was covered in snow. Collier had lost the trail in the snow.

The DCSO SAR volunteers located Collier's tracks in the snow and were able to follow them back to the main trail where they were undetectable among the tracks of other hikers. AirLink joined the search, their standard flight crew accompanied by one additional DCSO SAR volunteer spotter.

At approximately 2:30 a.m., one of the DCSO deputies located Collier at the Todd Lake Trailhead. Collier had successfully started a small warming fire and was waiting for one of the search teams to locate her at the trailhead. Collier was in good physical condition.

The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office reminds those that recreate outdoors to prepare accordingly for the activity. Some considerations include proper clothing for day and night conditions in your environment, even if you do not expect to be out overnight. Ensure you have adequate water and food, topographical trail maps, extra batteries or charging options for phones or GPS units. Bring a lightsource and a signaling device. Seek out information regarding the area and what may be encountered, such as current and projected weather conditions as well as terrain in the area. Tell someone where you are going, what you will be taking with you and when you plan to return. Collier had done several of these things, which helped in locating her, DCSO reported.

The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office strongly encourages those recreating in the outdoors to do so with a partner.

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