Josephine County Search and Rescue ATV team performed a mock search for a lost rider in the mountains above Colonial Valley this past weekend. These drills hone skills, train new riders and allow the team to practice search and safety proceedures.
TERREBONNE -- An Appaloosa gelding named Joker took 2 minutes and 20 seconds earlier this month to find a carefully hidden volunteer in a 13-acre, semi-wooded field near Terrebonne.
Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins watched, astonished, as Joker and rider George Ehmer, 66, of Milton-Freewater nosed out the hidden volunteer.
It was a dramatic and spectacular demonstration of what practioners call "equine air-scenting." The event was organized by a loosely knit central Oregon group that hopes to use horses in the role of bloodhounds during future backcountry searches.
"They've definitely got my attention," Adkins said Wednesday . "That was a pretty difficult search because the wind kept changing on us. That horse just went right over there and zigged and zagged and zoomed right in."
Horsewoman Kate Beardsley of Redmond arranged the search demonstration with Laurie Adams of Camp Sherman. The pair are assembling a team of a dozen air-scent trained horses and riders that they hope eventually will be deployed around the Northwest when hunters, hikers and others go missing.
"A lot of people don't know that horses do this at all," said Beardsley. "Laurie and I are focused on saving lives."
The ranch-raised Beardsley, 47, said a horse's olfactory receptors rival those of a tracking dog. As a horse trainer, professional horse packer and founder of a non-profit horse rescue called Mustangs to the Rescue, Beardsley owns two horses schooled in air-scent techniques and has helped organize air-scent clinics here for six years.
While little-known, the concept has been around awhile.
Joker, a 22-year-old Appaloosa, and rider George Ehmer of Milton-Freewater have their picture taken by a volunteer hiding in a ditch during a June 6 demonstration that horses are as good as bloodhounds at finding missing people. Joker sniffed out the volunteer in a 13-acre, partially wooded field near Terrebonne in 2 minutes, 20 seconds.COURTESY GEORGE EHMER
"I call it the lost art," says horse trainer Terry Nowacki of Argyle, Minn., who began reviving the techniquesabout 11 years ago. "It is the best-kept secret in the horse world."
Theodore Roosevelt was aware of what horses' noses can do, and hired a hunting guide in the 1880s that "followed his horse's nose to buffalo," according to Roosevelt biographer Edmund Morris. Four decades earlier, a mustang called Sacramento repeatedly saved explorer Col. John Fremont's life by scenting enemies along the trail, wrote frontier historian Glenn R. Vernam. Texas folklorist J. Frank Dobie also wrote of horses with exceptional noses in his 1952 book, "The Mustangs."
Tracking dogs can outperform horses in thick underbrush, said Nowacki, 57. But horses often hold the advantage because airborne scent rises and horses stand taller than dogs, he said.
Another plus for horses: A tired horse opens its nostrils wider, exposing more olfactory receptors, said Nowacki. A dog, on the other hand, pants when tired and overheated, diminishing its scenting ability.
Letting a horse sniff a hairbrush or article of a missing person's clothing isn't necessary, said Beardsley.
"They will search out the most recent scent, the hottest human scent," she said.
"It is the best-kept secret in the horse world."
Listening to horses
Nowacki, a professional horse trainer, stumbled onto the usefulness of search horses a dozen years ago in Minnesota while helping to look for a missing 80-year-old Alzheimer's patient, he said.
For three days, searchers and tracking dogs walked a narrow trail to a forest where they believed the missing man became lost, he said. On day three, a horse ridden along the trail stopped suddenly and snorted. The rider glanced down and saw the missing man in the undergrowth. He'd never even made it into the forest that was being searched.
The man survived, and Nowacki began probing the capabilities of horses in search and rescue scenarios. He's since written two books, the "Air Scenting Horse," and, "Equine Language and Communication Journal." Nowacki has a website, Equine Detection Services, and hosts four or five clinics a year on equine air-scenting around the nation, including one here in Terrebonne in early June.
"This is so natural for a horse," Beardsley said. "Horses smell everything, and they tell everyone around them what they smell.'
Horse trainer Kate Beardsley of Redmond said a horses olfactory receptors rival those of a tracking dog. She hopes to use horses in the role of bloodhounds during backcountry searches.
Chatterboxes by nature, horses communicate with other horses via a complex equine sign language of ear movements, body posture, neck swings, head positions, snorts and exhalations. Riders seldom have a clue what's being said, but horses are stoic about that, said Beardsley.
"They say to themselves, 'I've got a stupid human, and I'll just put up with it,'" she said.
Accordingly, most of Nowacki's clinic time is focused on teaching riders to understand what their horses are trying to communicate.
Adams, who has been through Nowacki's clinics, said she's become so proficient at deciphering her registered Paint gelding Joey's conversation that she knows when he's scenting a deer, a cougar or a human being.
The research is in: Doing nice for others does a body good. Maybe you were thinking that one of the best things about volunteering is getting a free pass to leave the office a few days a year, or just the pleasant feeling of accomplishment you get for helping others. As nice as those are, a recent study from Carnegie Mellon also found a direct link between volunteer work and decreased risk of high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. The study, published in the journal Psychology and Aging, included almost 1,200 people between the ages of 51 and 91, but the health benefits of volunteering among younger people have also been reported. Earlier this year, a study with high school kids indicated volunteerism could lead to lower inflammation, cholesterol and body mass index. [Source]
Taza, a German shepherd trained to find cadavers, turned up the unexpected Sunday morning — a man missing for four days who was still alive, her owner said.
After a brief search, Taza found Eddie Jones, 71, sitting slumped but alive in the corner of an old hog pen about 400 feet from his house, said Angela Batten, who owns and operates the nonprofit Dogs South K-9 Search & Rescue with her husband, Tony Batten.
Jones was taken to the Mayo Clinic in Waycross.
Brantley County Sheriff Jack Whisenant said that he checked on Jones late Sunday.
“He was unresponsive when we located him and has remained that way” but seemed to be in pretty good shape physically, Whisenant said.
Whisenant said the outcome was better than he expected. Batten said she was prepared to hear Taza bark, her alert that she had found someone dead.
“When I got up to [Taza], she was staring him in the face wagging her tail,” Batten said.
She thought at first that Jones was dead, Batten said, but when she bent closer she saw his eyes fluttering and yelled for Whisenant.
“I was shocked,” she said. “I usually don’t scream. I just pick up my cellphone and discreetly call the sheriff.”
When Whisenant came up, Batten said she told him, “We need an ambulance.”
Jones had been missing since Thursday and given the oppressive heat, the Brantley County Sheriff’s Office had asked Dogs South K-9 Search & Rescue for a cadaver dog to find him.
Batten said she got the call Saturday night and she and her husband took Taza to Jones’ mobile home Sunday morning to begin the search.
Told that Jones had hidden during the past, Batten said she had Taza check around the mobile home and outbuildings before the dog led her away from the house where he was last seen and into tall grass.
Taza went into a creek, came out and was working the creek bank when she reacted sharply, Batten said.
“All of sudden, she did a head snap. She took a sharp left’’ and ran to an old hog pen between two houses, Batten said.
Batten said Taza was nose-to-nose with Jones with her tail “going 90 miles a minute.”
“It’s a miracle he is alive. He was wearing a heavy jacket. He wasn’t dressed appropriately for the hot weather,’’ she said.
Out of about 400 searches, Batten said, “This is the first live victim we’ve ever had. I’m overjoyed.”
Search-and-rescue teams in Tulare County spent Father’s Day scouring the forest for two off-road motorcyclists who were missing.
The search started after concerned family members called law enforcement and reported two men overdue from a motorcycle riding trip.
Deputies began searching the area around Rincon Trail at Sherman Pass. The pass is located in the Sequoia National Forest and has an elevation near 9,200 feet.
The motorcyclists and search-and-rescue team were out of cellphone range for most of the day, according to a Sheriff’s Department report.
After several hours of searching, the men were located just before 7 p.m. Sunday on the Rincon Trail. The search was led by the California Highway Patrol, Sequoia Mountain Rescue and Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team.
COOS BAY — Families watched visibly pained Monday afternoon as divers and rescue personnel searched for an 8-year-old who disappeared underwater at Upper Empire Lakes.
The search ended in tragedy.
Lakeside Fire Department divers recovered the body of Karistian Croy of Coos Bay at 6:55 p.m., according to Coos Bay Fire Chief Stan Gibson.
Rescue swimmers searched the lake near John Topits Park on Monday afternoon, after reports that the boy was missing.
Gibson said Croy was swimming with his family. Rescuers received word Croy was missing around 3:22 p.m. By the time they arrived on scene, officers were told he had been underwater for five to seven minutes.
Coos Bay and North Bend police responded to the scene, and searched the water with the help of three civilians until divers could arrive around 4:15 p.m.
A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter briefly came to the scene to help view the area, Gibson said, but was unable to locate Croy.
source Hat tip: Mathew Adams Video at source (slow to load)
(CNN) -- Two California teens who stranded themselves atop a windy, 8,600-foot-high cliff ended up being rescued in what resembled a movie scene, according to authorities.
The boys, 16 and 17, were hoisted off the cliff in the Sierra Buttes in Northern California on Saturday, according to the California Highway Patrol. The CHP sent a helicopter and a small plane to retrieve the teens, who had stranded themselves on a narrow shelf on the cliff while hiking.
It took several attempts to hoist the boys as winds blew in excess of 20 mph, according to a CHP news release. Rescuers gave them instructions via loud speaker and used a camera system to zoom in to watch the teens safely harness themselves. One teen was hoisted and flown to a designated landing zone on State Highway 49 before the rescue was repeated with the other boy.
As researchers proved last week, cheetahs are not only capable of attaining great speeds, but possess an agility derived from their ability to accelerate and decelerate on a dime. So it’s only natural that Swiss scientists designed a robot intended for search and rescue missions after such a creature. Modeled after a house cat, the “cheetah-cub robot” is a four-legged metallic critter that simulates a cat’s dynamic stride.
Published in the International Journal of Robotics Research, the prototype robot was developed by Ecole Polytechnique Federale deLausanne EPFL’s Biorobotics Laboratory (Biorob), Switzerland.
The machine’s strength resides in the design of its legs. Researchers developed a new model based on the meticulous observation and faithful reproduction of the feline leg. In reproducing this feline morphology, the robot has the same advantages as its model: a marked running ability and elasticity in just the right spots to ensure stability. Thus the robot is naturally more autonomous.
There are three segments on each leg, with proportions identical to those of a cat. Springs reproduce the motion of tendons, while actuator small motors that convert energy into movement serve as the muscles.
Living up to its name, the robot is the fastest in its category in normalized speed for small quadruped robots under 30 kg. In testing it demonstrated the ability to run almost seven times its body length in just one second.
Although not as agile as a real cat, the robot still exhibited excellent auto-stabilization characteristics while running at full speed through a course with different obstacles and disturbances.
Compared to other robots, the cheetah-cub is extremely light, compact, and robust and, best of all, can easily be assembled from inexpensive, readily available materials.
The purpose of this display is to encourage research in biomechanics, particularly when considering the level of detail that went into the leg design to improve speed and agility. Robots developed from this concept would eventually be used in search and rescue missions or for exploration.
High-speed rescue boats staffed by rescue divers worked the shorelines below Lake Oswego's water intake on the Clackamas River until the man was found and pulled from the water. An American Medical Response ambulance picked the man up from the boat and took him to the hospital.
A total of 21 emergency vehicles and their crews were dispatched to the search-and-rescue operation.
Most drownings occur way out at sea, right? Wrong! Nine out of
ten drownings occur in inland waters, most within a few feet of
safety and involving boats under 20-feet long. Most drowning
victims had a life jacket available and chose not to wear it.
Boaters think they will have time to prepare for an accident.
Time to grab a life jacket and put it on. In reality, there often is no
time. And once you’re in the water, it may be too late.
Life jackets are designed to keep you afloat in the water and give
you extra time. Time for rescue services to reach you. Time that
can mean the difference between life and death, because it doesn’t take long to drown. In fact, it only takes 60 seconds for an adult
to drown, and 20 seconds for a child to drown.
If you haven’t been wearing your life jacket because of the way it
makes you look or feel, there’s good news. Life jacket technology
has come a long way—the bulky, ugly, old orange life jacket is a
thing of the past. Manufacturers are listening to consumers, refining
fit and size options. Radical changes in life jacket design—extra
large armholes, shaped fit, flexible panels, pockets, inflatables and
more comfortable materials—make today’s life jackets easy to wear.
Before you shove off, make sure everyone on board is wearing a
life jacket with all straps, zippers and ties fastened. Tuck in any
loose strap ends to avoid getting hung-up.
70%of all boating fatality accidents result
from drowning. Almost 85% of those who drown are not wearing a life jacket!
Having life jackets aboard does not save lives—
WEARING them does!
Hiker Hell "This blog is about learning from other people's mistakes, so you don't make the same ones."
Many stories of how people on hikes got into trouble- the kind of trouble that leads to searches or recoveries.