Survivor Club

Rescue Map

we don't share tents

Name Carolyn Erickson
Product Name ResQLink™ PLB
Date of Rescue 09/01/2017
Saved By 2Bear Air out of Montana.
Beacon Purchased From REI
Lives Saved 1

My friend and I were on a backpack in the 7 Devils Wilderness area, Idaho. It was to be a 3 night, 4 day backpack. This is a rugged area, and it was hot. 80's - 90's. The 2nd day out, my friend drank 5 L of water, ate electrolytes, but didn't pee the whole day. About 4:30 p.m., she told me she had puked 4 large amounts of water and thinking she had heat exhaustion, we sat and cooled off, ate and drank more water. During the next couple miles, she moved very slowly, kept "losing" the trail and even though I had her in sight, she couldn't "see" me, so I continually had to go back and get her back on track. About 7:30 p.m. I told her we were going to spend the night, and I set up my tent and asked her to get her stuff out and I'd help her set it up. She became very out of it; sat on the ground, not being able to do anything, and asked if she could sleep in my tent. Now, we've joked about this many, many times, that we don't share tents, we each have a small Big Agnes, so I was very surprised she would ask. I had to help her into my tent, she couldn't walk on her own and after settling down, told her we'd get a good night sleep and deal with things in the morning. She was very restless, kept sitting up, lying down and at one point I heard breathing regularly, like she was sleeping. Then all hell broke loose – a blood curling scream, seizing, blood coming out of her mouth. I immediately turned her head, grabbed my beacon, pushed the button, grabbed her cell phone called 911 as well, since I wasn't sure how the ACR worked. Things were set in motion - the 911 dispatcher told me a helicopter (Life Flight) was being dispatched, it would take 45 minutes as it was coming out of Lewiston. (I looked at my watch to see when it should be there. It was a few minutes after 11 p.m.) She kept puking, and each time I’d get back to the tent, to turn her head. She was on her back, couldn’t move her onto her side. The helicopter arrived, hovered and continued to fly around us. Apparently it couldn't land because of the terrain and after calling 911 again, who patched me into the CO of Life Flight, I was told the pilot felt it was unsafe, that they would need to get a "hoist". I asked if I could return to Carolyn, or should I stay there with my beacon. He assured me they knew where I was, to get back to Carolyn. After a long while, another helicopter arrived, headed straight for us and I saw a person running towards me. The person was from the Flathead Sheriff's Dept. (per his patch). He tended to Carolyn in the tent, asked me if she had fallen, to which I replied no. Asked her if she could open her mouth, and he tried to open it, couldn’t. He asked had she been conscious at any time, I told him no, she had opened her eyes a couple times, but didn’t seem to be aware of me. But she was breathing. I asked if he knew where they were taking her so I could let her husband know, and he said they were headed to Life Flight because they had a helicopter pad, but from there he didn’t know. I told him he could pull her out of the tent on her pad (he’d put her in the sling already), he called up and said he had a 63 year old unresponsive female, and the next thing I knew they were up in the air. I looked at my watch to see how long before day light and it was about 4:00 a.m. (Later learned it was Two Bear Air who had rescued her.)

I hate to think of the consequences, had we not had the beacon and were able to call for help! She was unresponsive for 2 days while in ICU, then slowly regained consciousness and made a full recovery to everyone's amazement! (The seizure was caused by low sodium levels, since she had diluted her system so badly). I had no idea how the device would work, how things would be set in motion, but am SO thankful it works! Thank you, thank you, thank you! (Her husband has since bought her one!) My beacon No is: 2DCE7 8F544 FFBFF.