Placer County, Calif. June 27, 2017 – On June 25, 2017 at approximately 9:00 p.m., California Highway Patrol Helicopter 24 (H-24) received a call for assistance from Placer County Sheriff’s Office, regarding two men and a dog that had become lost in the area of Salmon Lakes trail. H-24 responded from the Auburn Airport and arrived on scene within 30 minutes.
The crew began their search using night vision goggles (NVG) and the night vision camera (FLIR). Within 25 minutes, the crew located a man lying on a granite boulder. As he heard the helicopter, he stood and began waving. Using the Public-Address system (PA), the crew verified he was one of the lost hikers. H-24 was able to safely land on a large granite boulder and contact the victims.
They reported they went on a hike with their dog “Buster”. Buster became spooked and ran off trail causing them to chase after him. They looked for the dog for quite a while. Eventually finding the dog, they saw that he was lame on his back legs. They picked him up and began carrying him for 2 ½ hours. They determined that they were hopelessly lost and nightfall was fast approaching. They decided to do the smart thing and stay put, build a fire, and call 9-1-1.
H-24 extracted all of the parties and flew them to Blue Canyon Airport and turned them over to Placer County Sheriff’s Deputy. Buster is recuperating at home and is expected to make a full recovery.
These hikers did everything right. They knew they were lost, stopped and found a suitable location to build a fire. Thankfully they had a cellphone and good signal and were able called 9-1-1.