Survivor Club

Rescue Map

Scout uses beacon to save a life.

Name Ward
Product Name ResQLink™+ PLB
Date of Rescue 07/19/2016
Saved By Okanogan Search and Rescue
Beacon Purchased From REI
Lives Saved 1 person

My oldest son, Isaac, set off on a week-long backpacking trip with his Scout troop to the Pasayten Wilderness (Washington) in July 2016. The previous month, he and I spent a week backpacking the Emigrant Wilderness in California and had purchased a ResQLink PLB as an insurance policy against any accidents. Luckily, we were fine in California, but the beacon paid off when my son used it to call in S&R for an injured hiker in Washington.

After getting home from our California trip, I put the beacon away not expecting to need it for Isaac’s trip since his group was well-equipped with radios, etc. However, in the days leading up to his Pasayten trip, Isaac approached me saying he thought it would be a good idea to bring the PLB with him. I was hesitant since I didn’t want to run the risk of losing or accidentally triggering it, but eventually relented.

On the second day of their trip (July 19), the group encountered a woman on the trail who was desperately trying to get a signal to let authorities know that her father had been injured in a trail accident involving a mule. The two of them had separated from the rest of their group and were traveling on mules when Larry, the injured hiker, had been thrown off his animal. He landed on his back / neck and was unable to move and needed to be evacuated. As it turns out, the group was unable to make contact using their radios so Isaac quickly offered to use our beacon to call in support. At that point, Isaac and a few others from the group detoured to Larry’s location and sent up a signal.

Meanwhile, at home, my wife received a phone call from Okanogan Search and Rescue letting her know the beacon had been triggered and a rescue effort was underway. Of course, we didn’t have any details and feared the worst . . . that Isaac was injured. Thankfully, over the next several hours, we received a clearer picture of what had happened. We were so happy to know that Isaac’s preparation and foresight paid off in a big way and ultimately resulted in many lives impacted for good. Within a few hours, a military helicopter reached their remote location and airlifted Larry to a hospital for treatment. His injuries were not as serious as originally feared, but his prognosis was greatly improved for having been evacuated as quickly as he was.

I also am including a few of Larry’s own words as he recounted the experience later: “I am sure you have heard the story about what happened and how they found me in the woods. All the boys and their leader were absolutely great. They detoured out of their way to come and help after my daughter told them what happened. Isaac though stayed with me the whole time which was several hours. He also put his rain coat over me and sat for several hours without a coat to make sure I was covered up. God was truly looking after me that day as it turns out I was not seriously hurt, but because I hit so hard I could not move for hours. God works in strange ways sometimes and my hope would be to someday help someone like Isaac helped me and them let him know that I had passed it on.”

Big thanks to the folks at ACR/Artex for building a great product and to Okanogan Sheriff / Search & Rescue for the professional management of a frightening situation. And of course, special thanks to the US Military for diverting a helicopter with pilot and rescue crewman to help someone in desperate need.

Big thanks to the folks at ACR/Artex for building a great product and to Okanogan Sheriff / Search & Rescue for the professional management of a frightening situation. And of course, special thanks to the US Military for diverting a helicopter with pilot and rescue crewman to help someone in desperate need.