Survivor Club

Rescue Map

Back pain was later diagnosed as severe heat stroke and rhabdomyolysis

Name John Farber
Product Name ResQLink™ PLB
Date of Rescue 09/12/2017
Saved By Grand Canyon National Park helicopter
Beacon Purchased From REI, 380 Powerhouse Drive, Bend, OR, 97702
Lives Saved 1

Starting on September 11, 2017, John Farber, his wife Sharon, their daughter, son in law, and I left the Lipan Point trail head for a planned  week long backpack trip in the Grand Canyon. The Tanner trail drops nine miles and 5000 feet to the Colorodo River. John had been having some back issues prior to starting this trip. After hiking about three miles John started to complain about his back hurting. We took most of the items out of his back pack and shared them among our group. After resting a few minutes we started out again, however, if was not long till John once again complained of back pain and having troubles walking. Because of the steepness of the terrain we decided to try to push on to the river versus trying to go back up the trail.

After another hour John could only walk a few feet before needing to stop and rest. We decided to divide the group and two people went ahead to set up camp at the river and then bring us back water. It ended up taking a total of about 10 hours to reach the river, around 8PM. John went to bed and to everyone's surprise was up and moving around fine in the morning (September 12). We packed up and left camp at around 9AM and headed west (downriver). After an hour or so into the hike John once again started complaining of pain and started having troubles walking. We were only going to do three miles that day so decided to stop and let John rest.

However, we were in an area of no trees or shade and the temperature quickly started rising. We tried to build a shade area for John to lie in and tried to rehydrate him but his symptoms continued to get worse. Around 3PM we decided John was not going to get any better and we decided to call for help. No one had any service on their cell phones. I pulled out my newly purchased ACR ResQLink beacon and walked to the top of a close in hill and activated the beacon. We then sent part of the group ahead to set up camp and start bringing more water back as we thought we have to be taking turns getting water for John for the next 24 hours until help could come.

Amazingly, in just over an hour after we activated the beacon a National Park helicopter was landing above John’s location. The three person flight crew quickly assessed John and determined that he did need to be flown out due to his dehydration, pain, and irregular heart rhythm. He was given two liters of IV fluids and then they were able to move him to the helicopter. The temperature was 105 degrees F on the ground according to the flight crew. John and Sharon flew out with the helicopter to the Grand Canyon Village where John was put in an ambulance and  taken to a Flagstaff hospital where he was diagnosed with severe heat stroke and rhabdomyolysis. He stayed in the hospital for next 36 hours. He was very sore, but he was alive!

 

Epilogue

We would all like to offer our sincere thanks to the NPS for their quick response to a situation that could have quickly become deadly as well as to the people that make the ACR PLB-375 beacon that allowed John to be found and rescued in such a timely manner. Having the beacon available most definitely helped save his life.

We would all like to offer our sincere thanks to the NPS for their quick response to a situation that could have quickly become deadly as well as to the people that make the ACR PLB-375 beacon that allowed John to be found and rescued in such a timely manner. Having the beacon available most definitely helped save his life.