Search and Rescue on Devil's Fork

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Search and Rescue on Devil's Fork

Post by canoe » Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:29 pm

As we were coming back from the Richland takeout this evening, there a bunch of rescue people at Icelado Gap. Apperently, someone was taking pictures down in the drainage and set off his emergency ONSTAR beacon, which notified his wife, who notified the autorities. The info we got was that the rescue squad did have GPS coordinates, so hopefully things turn out ok. Dale

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Re: Search and Rescue on Devil's Fork

Post by tkennon » Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:20 pm

Hey Dale, let me know if you here anymore on this, there are a few people I know that were planning on going to Twin Devil's Falls to take photos via the cemetery at Icelado Gap.

Tom Kennon

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Re: Search and Rescue on Devil's Fork

Post by Cowper » Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:56 pm

I'd like to know too. It fits the profile for Paul Caldwell, who takes a lot of pictures in that area and is the kind of person who would likely own a Spot beacon. I'm thinking that's the only type that would work down in the valleys and notify a wife, vs. notifying the authorites directly.
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Re: Search and Rescue on Devil's Fork

Post by tkennon » Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:05 pm

I just found out it is a photographer named Ed Cooley from Rogers. Two messages have been sent from different locations. No one is sure yet if Ed used the help button to contact his wife and she called search and rescue or if he activated the 911 button. Search and rescue had not located him as of 8:00pm tonight.

Let's hope for the best and maybe he is just lost.

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Re: Search and Rescue on Devil's Fork

Post by Cowper » Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:40 pm

tkennon wrote:Let's hope for the best and maybe he is just lost.
Concur. But it will be an interesting twist on our new technologies if he is just lost. With a GPS, you can't really get "lost" in the traditional sense if you know how to use it. So to me it will seem just weird if he didn't have a GPS, but used a device based on GPS technology, so that other people with GPS's can come find him.

This is just wild speculation of course, and you've already made the more important point - we hope he is OK!
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Re: Search and Rescue on Devil's Fork

Post by canoe » Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:44 pm

Going back up tommorrow, mayknow more then. dale

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Re: Search and Rescue on Devil's Fork

Post by tkennon » Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:50 am

Ed Cooley was located last night at about 8:30pm. He will have to be carried out. Here is the message posted on the CSNP board.

"At 5:30 this morning the Newton County Sheriff's office said they thought that Ed has a broken leg and broken collarbone. Paramedics and many volunteers are working to clear the brush to haul him out. Thank goodness he's still alive."

I am glad he alive also. I am also glad he had his Spot with him or he could have been a lot worse. This device can be purchased for $99 right now with a small monthly fee. It seems like a small price for anyone that paddles, hikes, etc.

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Re: Search and Rescue on Devil's Fork

Post by Roger » Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:53 am

:clap:
I am I plus my surroundings and if I do not preserve the latter, I do not preserve myself. Jose Ortega Y Gasset

The earth is like a spaceship that didn't come with an operating manual.
Buckminster Fuller

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Re: Search and Rescue on Devil's Fork

Post by Clif » Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:58 am

Rouge tripod accident??

Ok kidding.. but very thankful he is alive and FOUND. Could have been a very unpleasant scenario.
You sure this is on the right channel?

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Re: Search and Rescue on Devil's Fork

Post by robkanraft » Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:31 pm

Any updates?

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Re: Search and Rescue on Devil's Fork

Post by tkennon » Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:21 pm

Here is the latest update on Ed Cooley from Glenn Wheeler that was on the scene.

Guys, I have been in the woods for 21 hours so I did not read all the posts above. I was in there shooting photos (as was Bob Wyatt), when we met the rescuers going in. We went back up to my Jeep and got all of my rescue gear and medical gear and went back in.

Ed was found around 8:30 last night but it took me (I was the only EMT within a close range of him) until about 10:00 PM to get to him. He had fallen about 30 feet right at twin falls and, regardless of the differing GPS coordinates (we got a few that indicated he was moving), he was NOT moving. The guys that found him had to actually pull him out of the water.

I was with him until we flew him out and can tell you he had several serious injuries, but should make it.

The rescue took many hours (imagine carrying someone out of there). I met up with the rescuers as they were coming in around 4:30 PM (he had fallen around 2:00 PM) and we did not get him out to the chopper until almost 10:00 AM. It was a miserable night for us, but much worse for Ed.

All in all, I made four trips in and out of there, most of it in wet boots/socks. BUT, Ed's day was much worse.

He was in good spirits considering....


Keep him in your thoughts and prayers...


He was going into surgery at 4:30pm today.

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Re: Search and Rescue on Devil's Fork

Post by Cowper » Fri Oct 16, 2009 10:58 pm

Wow, what a story! We can bet we’ll be able to read about this one on the Spot website!

I’ve hiked those slopes around the Twin Falls quite a few times and have been very aware that one slip could be fatal.

One thing that impresses me about this story is the general timeline. Compare this to some of our own “lost paddler” stories (with no injuries). Typically, some family member calls SAR around midnight when their loved one doesn’t come home; the search begins in earnest at sunrise the next morning. In this case, lying injured in the cold water, would he have even survived the night? But instead, injured at 2 PM, rescuers in the area at 4:30 PM, and at his side sometime before 8:30 PM, or maybe it was sooner.

I’ve been on the fence about getting a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) for some time now, this will push me past the “thinking about it” stage.
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Re: Search and Rescue on Devil's Fork

Post by RomanLA » Fri Oct 16, 2009 11:36 pm

Cowper wrote:I’ve been on the fence about getting a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) for some time now, this will push me past the “thinking about it” stage.
I'm glad everything turned out alright. That would definitely make for a long, cold night! I got a SPOT for my solo backpacking trip this summer. I was able to get out an OK signal every night without any problems. I got the $100,000 of SAR insurance too. :P

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Re: Search and Rescue on Devil's Fork

Post by tkennon » Sat Oct 17, 2009 7:53 am

Here is a little more detail on the rescue effort and Ed's current situation. Ed went into surgery for a compound leg fracture yesterday afternoon and is doing well. I talked to a friend last night that had visited with the family and Ed will be transfered to Tulsa to have repair surgery on his fractured pelvis.

Glenn Wheeler posted a little more detail after getting some rest himself. Anything we can learn for this accident could help us in paddling. How many times have we taken solo side trips while on a paddling adventure both overnight and day trips? Maybe we should consider the Spot or similar devices part of our rescue gear?


Sorry for the delay guys, but I had to get a nap in after I got home. I'm getting too old for that stuff.

Bill, if you were at the top listening to the radio traffic, my call sign was "Krooked Kreek 3", you probably heard me running my mouth quite a bit.

It truly was a Herculean effort by many folks to get Ed out of there. I had several people assisting me as we started the extrication, but I had to request more resources several times. We ended up with folks from many departments from Newton County, Boone County, Searcy County, Harrison Fire and Rescue, U.S. Forest Service, Arkansas Forestry Commission, North Arkansas Regional Medical Center, Air-Evac, local residents and more. We still had new folks showing up as we were coming up the hill to the cemetery with him. Even though it was basically over, we were still glad to see them as most folks involved were totally spent and just pushing on. It's amazing what the human body can do when put in that situation!

I do a LOT of Search and Rescues and patient carry outs and this was, by far, the toughest I have been involved in. As you can imagine getting an injured person out of there without worsening the injuries is quite a task. We also were under equipped, mainly because of where we were. On a typical situation like this, we would place the patient on a "backboard" to protect their spinal integrity, and then put them in a rescue basket (we normally use a "stokes" style basket, often times with a wheel attached). However, last night all we had was the backboard. That makes the carry out much more difficult, especially in difficult terrain.

As to the differing coordinates, I'm not sure why there was so much discrepancy, but as the EMT that treated him, I can assure you he wasn't walking around. He was in fact found in the water and was pretty hypothermic and in shock, not to mention he had an open tib-fib fracture (Bones of the lower leg, above the ankle) and a fractured pelvis.

Considering all he had gone through, he was in pretty good spirits and was a good patient. Of course there were times when he would have some pain (sometimes pretty intense) and he always apologized for complaining. We kept telling him over and over, not to apologize but he was so gracious he just kept on.

I was the primary medical person with him from when I got to him around 10:00 until a Paramedic arrived around 3:30 or 4:00. I was sure glad to see the medic show up as he had the meds that would help make Ed's life a LOT better for the trip out. It was still a very rough trip for him, but having enough morphine on board, really helped. And he wouldn't share...

Most of his treatment on the way out, was keeping him as still as possible, splinting his fractures, etc., treating him for shock, controlling some bleeding (though not profuse) and trying to keep his spirits up. We would stop several times along the way to warm him up again. We would build a fire and put him close by then open remove the blankets, coats, etc that we had him covered with. The layer closest to him was a space blanket (I always carry one or two). We would lift up the space blanket and allow the heat to reflect down on Ed then quickly seal the blanket back around him and put all the layers back on. Once more supplies made their way to us, we also started an IV with warmed fluids to help bring his body temp back up and get his BP back up.

All in all, it was a LONG trip out, but went well considering. Sometime just before daylight, Harrison Fire and Rescue made it to us with a rescue basket and manpower, which really helped.

There were Forest Service guys working their way to us from the top, sawing out the trail (lots of downed timber from the ice storm) so that really helped.

All in all, it was huge effort by a LOT of folks, all working together like a well-oiled machine. Ed had a bad ordeal that lasted nearly 20 hours from the time he fell until the time he was put on a chopper and headed to Washington Regional.

By the way Bill, I did not see the exact spot where Ed fell, but when I was getting the report from the guys that found him, they did mention a cedar tree at the top of the bluff. I don't know if it is the same one you mentioned above.

One last note, I have two SPOT units and advocate their use all the time, I have even done so in a couple of articles I have written. I will say, without a doubt, that the SPOT saved Ed's life...twice. First off, the SPOT got folks enroute and got us in the general area. Where Ed was, the searchers could not see him. BUT, one of the guys saw a small light flashing and radioed to ask us what the unit looked like. I told them it was orange and if they could see the front, there would be a very small green light blinking to indicate that it was on and signaling. That was, in fact, what they were seeing and that is how they found him. So the SPOT saved his life twice.

I've been telling folks for a couple of years that the SPOT is the way to go if you spend much time in the woods. I truly do wish more folks carried them (I made that comment to Bob Wyatt yesterday before this happened). I have been involved in many searches where we really didn't have much of an idea of where exactly to look, but with a SPOT we can really narrow that down, saving a lot of time and in some cases, lives.

Someone asked about his photo gear. It was carried out by the team. I didn't see the camera, etc. just the bag, but I think it was fine. The tripod was unscathed, and I THINK the rest of it was too.

I'm going to leave it at that for now; I'm still pretty tired and sore even after a little rest and am not sure this post will really make total sense, I’m pretty much on auto-pilot at this point.

Oh, I did not make it to the falls to get photos (I was there, but the light wasn't great at 10 PM). I had intended to go back today and try again, but after all that went on, I didn't think I could make that trip again!


Everyone be safe out there!

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Re: Search and Rescue on Devil's Fork

Post by Clif » Sat Oct 17, 2009 8:41 am

This is good stuff. Thanks for the posts.

My GPSr will vary big time in where it thinks I am. Even more so in clouds, tree cover and hills... or buildings. Readings have bounced 100 feet or better when I moved far less than that distance. I won't guess why they were getting moving positions... just saying what I have seen.
You sure this is on the right channel?

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