The end of the article points out an important issue that tends to compound searches and make it difficult to isolate a search area. The group had no injuries, so they kept moving, but only they knew which direction they were going. Moving targets can be extremely difficult to find, and the longer they are away from the point last seen, the bigger the search area becomes. This was the same problem searchers had last week in Denali park.
In search theory we have something called "Probability of Area," which is the statistical liklihood that a missing subject will be found in a certain area. We tend to look at maps and try to figure out the most likely route a hiker would take. There are certain behaviors that are statistically more likely for certain categories of missing subjects (kids, experienced hikers, inadvertent hikers, groups, psych patients, etc.), and we combine that with the information we gleen from maps, and then can break a map down into sectors that can be searched, with priority given to the areas of highest probability. The problem is, when people are on the move, it doesn't take long for the probable search area to expand, and within a few days the search area becomes TRW, or "The Rest of the World."
The conundrum becomes, if you're healthy and there is no reason to believe that you can't hike out on your own, why should you stay put? How is a "lost" person to know that a search is coming? There is no easy answer... best thing you can do is leave as many clues as you can to indicate direction of travel, if you decide to try to hike out. Clothing strips tied to trees periodically, cairns, sticks on your trail... all help searchers find you. If you're in a large open area, leave signs large enough to be seen from the air. Those who volunteer on SAR teams go through tons of training just for spotting clues, so don't think a deliberate clue will be missed.
Off my soapbox...
YMMV. Viewer discretion is advised.
It makes sense that the solo guide would have the sat phone. When I did OB sat phone technology was only for the military, and cell phones were yet to come into being (this was even pre-car phone days). We were alone in the woods for days with no means of communication. I don't know when OB started carrying sat phones, but I really don't see the fact that they didn't have one as that big a deal. But I agree... why didn't the group wait for the guide to return? Boredom? Teenage energy? Would it have made a difference if they'd waited or would they have still gotten misplaced? Of course they'd have had the sat phone if the third guide was with them, but did they think they were lost? My OB group wandered aimlessly through the woods for most of our 3 week trip - at times we were on trails and at other times we were cross-country. We never considered ourselves hopelessly lost, even though at one point we were most definitely in the wrong place and off the maps we had with us. So, I don't know if the outcome would have been any different had they waited for the third guide to return.
YMMV. Viewer discretion is advised.
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
I agree, the sat phone may or may not have been helpful, but leaving a group member behind to fend for himself, even if he was a guide, doesn't seem like a good idea.
In a reported incident in Arthur's Pass in NZ a few years ago, a small group left one of them behind to fend for herself, then reported her missing. Granted, this person wasn't a guide, but even more reason not to leave someone alone.
Btw, February is summer down there, so the temps wouldn't have been that bad but AP is known for wild weather , which I have seen firsthand and no place for an inexperienced hiker on their own.
Here is the SAR report posted on the AP website-
An inexperienced female tramper "abandoned" by her tramping companions in the Harper River became lost in the Long Creek area. Her companions reported her lost to Arthur's Pass Police late Monday(28-02) evening. A team consisting of Arthur's Pass Rescue and Arthur's Pass Police commenced a foot search of the Lagoon Saddle track at first light discovering the lost tramper in Lagoon Saddle hut. Her condition was that of dehydration because her companions had told her that ALL NZ water needed boiling before consumption, and they had been carrying all the cooking equipment when they abandoned her. We recommended she find new friends!
ps. their belief about boiling the water is totally untrue.
Don't get me started, you know how I get.
TomD "They were reported missing to authorities on Tuesday, two days after the group missed a rendezvous with a third guide. That guide had separated from the group Sunday to scout a possible climb. When he returned to the prearranged meeting point, the group wasn't there, Mushovic said." __________________________________________
So one guide left the group. He returned to a prearranged spot and no one was there. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> Was this a different spot than where he left the group? <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" /> He may well have been the most experienced guide and the others simply couldn't find the rendevous point, and continued on without him, knowing that they WERE lost and the Guide would be able to take care of himself. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> Its some pretty BIG country up around Florence Lake. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> If you miss a side canyon trail, it could be a long way out. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />
As MNS said - simply not knowing where you are doesn't necesarily mean that you're "Lost". <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.