Inyo Search and Rescue crews faced a roller coaster of calls since last Friday – with people in trouble from Mt. Whitney to the Palisades and Rock Creek. Several suffered from high altitude sickness.
Corporal Terry Waterbury, Search and Rescue Coordinator for Inyo, said the team responded to five calls – one right after another. Last Friday, Search and Rescue retrieved the body of a 63-year-old man from Atascadero who suffered from altitude sickness, difficulty breathing and a tight chest. He later died. That was last Wednesday.
Then, last Friday a report came in from the Rock Creek area of a woman who fell and injured her ankle. Crews went to the area but could not locate the woman. Then, two reports from the Mt. Whitney area came in. Waterbury said a 19-year-old woman from Brea suffered from high altitude sickness. At the same time, a report came in of an Ohio man who suffered a stress fracture in his foot. He eventually walked out part way, received crutches and was finally wheeled out in a special rescue basket. Yet another report came in of an 80-year-old man from Florida, Norman Whitney, who was airlifted out to Southern Inyo Hospital with altitude sickness.
Same night, more trouble. Waterbury said a 59-year-old man from Norco broke his leg in the Palisade Glacier area. He was eventually airlifted out Saturday morning, after crews sat with him through the night, to Bishop Airport and Northern Inyo Hospital.
On top of all that, a Be On the Look-out bulletin came to Search and Rescue Saturday that a Carson City man had sent a letter to his estranged wife that he planned to kill himself in Death Valley.
Waterbury said crews did find the man’s car at Badwater where he left a note. Crews on the ground and in the air have searched for the man since. At last word, they had not located him. Extreme heat in Death Valley has caused breaks in the search effort. Waterbury said that China Lake sent a chopper as did the CHP, plus a canine team from Nye County joined the search.