Last Saturday evening, at approximately 7:30 PM, Lincoln County Search and Rescue had just finished successfully locating a missing subject in the Yachats area when they were re-deployed to find a missing 83 year-old male in the South Beach area. Search and Rescue began searching the area on foot and on ATV, but found no sign of the missing man..
Efforts to find him continued on Sunday and lasted the entire day. Two K9 teams from Lane County Search and Rescue arrived to assist. As darkness began to fall, an ATV team was retrieving a K9 search team from their mission area and noticed a human form on a clear cut about a quarter of a mile away. The subject did not respond to yelling or signalling. The nearby ground search team had difficulty reaching him due advancing darkness and hazardous terrain.
The search team eventually reached the subject and confirmed he was the missing 83 year-old. Rescuers determined the man was unable to walk out due to medical and hazardous terrain. A Coast Guard helicopter was dispatched to the scene to airlift the man to a hospital. Rescuers and a Coast Guardsman packaged the man in a folding stretcher in preparation to be hoisted by the helicopter.
Darkness along with being dangerously close to trees and updrafts from the steep terrain, made the helicopter hoisting operation difficult. The chopper burned a significant amount of fuel while expertly hovering above the scene. But after hoisting the man, the aircrew advised personnel on the ground they did not have enough fuel left for another hoisting operation for the remaining Coast Guardsman still on the ground. So the guardsman hiked out with the rescue team and was transported back to the Coast Guard facility in Newport.
Sheriff Curtis Landers observed: “Steadfast dedication from our Search and Rescue volunteers and strong community partnerships as we have with the Siletz Tribe, who donated the ATV’s, are what saved this individual’s life. Thank you also to the US Coast Guard, Lane County Sheriff’s Office, Pacific West Ambulance, and, again, to our amazing volunteers.”
No word on how the elderly gentleman got lost.