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Pete
08-08-2009, 07:18
Las Vegas Boy Dies After Getting Stranded in Death Valley

http://www.lasvegasnow.com/Global/story.asp?S=10867128

I was wondering which folder to put this post in. Thought it would best be placed here in the fieldcraft section as an example on what not to do.

I feel sorry for the boy and the mother but..........

Read for yourself, yeah this is America but the hard side of living can jump up and slap you if you're not prepared.

".....The vehicle was found several miles off a dirt road in the middle of the desert and apparently got stuck when it drove over an underground coyote den and the soil collapsed, Lotspeich said......."

Off roading in the desert with a single vehicle requires knowledge of self recovery and just a few basic tools. A shepard's jack and D handle shovel might have been enough to fix the problem.

Read through the story and just shook my head, one thing after another leading up to a disaster.

PSM
08-10-2009, 18:01
A shepard's jack

New term to me. Is this a Hi-Lift jack? :confused:

Pat

Edit to add: No joy on Google search.

Pete
08-10-2009, 20:43
New term to me. Is this a Hi-Lift jack? :confused:

Pat

Edit to add: No joy on Google search.

Yes that would be a Hi Lift Jack. I guess I used the old term.

A litttle odd to use with newer plastic bumper cars but with a good size base plate, some hooks & straps, a shovel and a little brain figuring you can lift & fill under just about anything and get back rolling.

Sdiver
08-10-2009, 21:10
I too was/am shaking my head after reading this, but not the same way Pete was shaking his. Some things just don't add up and smells kinda fishy to me.

They got a flat tire, she changed it, continued on, went off road, got stuck, went through their 24 16oz waters/pop-tarts/and cheese sammiches, the dog and the mom survive but the boy dies.......

I'm sorry, but my Spidey Senses are tingling on this one. Be interesting to keep an eye on the investigation with this one.

HowardCohodas
08-10-2009, 22:34
I'm sorry, but my Spidey Senses are tingling on this one. Be interesting to keep an eye on the investigation with this one.

My senses as well.

Richard
08-11-2009, 06:34
We always had some metal fence stakes, rope, and a comealong for such a situation - a three-post anchor to attach a winch or comealong works wonders in that type of terrain.

Richard's $.02 :munchin

Pete
08-11-2009, 06:41
20 miles is a long way in the desert.

I can believe the story just because it reads like a typical "Oh, this sounds like fun. Let's do it." story.

The average person can pull out the owner's book and struggle through changing a flat tire while parked on the side of the road. But when one of your tires breaks through an underground den you find you can't get to where the book says to put the jack.

They entered a survival situation where even with limited training or pre trip prep they all would have survived.

I would hope the authorities do a real good interview with her and somewhere down the road we can read an AAR of what they did during the 5 days.

Stuck in the desert or stuck in a blizzard - both can kill the unprepared.

And in addition to what Richard said - a snatch block doubles the pulling power of a comealong.

ODA572
08-12-2009, 06:58
What I don't understand about this story is, "Why is the dog alive?"

You're stranded in one of the worst places in the world to be stranded, Death Valley. It's called that for a reason.

How long till rescue? No idea.

Must ration the supplies for maximum duration.

Water for mom, water for kid, ......... water for the dog? Not in my play book.

That dog had to have been given water to last as long as mom. That water maybe, just maybe, could have saved the boy till rescue.

I'm sure the PETA crowd is praising the mom's decision to give water to the dog, and the boy, well, too bad about that you know.

Stupid is as stupid does.

Pete
08-12-2009, 07:54
I would guess the dog was the smart one.

After the water ran out I'll bet his place was under the vehicle in a nice bed he made for himself in the sand.

"....... and quickly consumed the 24 16-oz. bottles of water........"

That's why I would love to read a detailed AAR of their experience.

Since they were going overnight camping they had to have some basic camping equipment. What did they have and how did they use/not use it?

Richard
08-12-2009, 08:00
Since they were going overnight camping they had to have some basic camping equipment. What did they have and how did they use/not use it?

A shovel? :confused:

Richard's $.02 :munchin

The Reaper
08-12-2009, 08:09
A shovel? :confused:

Richard's $.02 :munchin

Exactly my thought.

Given a couple of days, you could dig the vehicle out and build a pretty good ramp.

Maybe people without adequate training should not attempt potentially life-threatening activities, especially if they are taking their kids along.

TR

Saoirse
08-12-2009, 09:13
Why didn't she just backtrack to the road from which she drove off of, if she didn't have the tools or know-how to do what you guys would have done? In that 5 day period, she could have made it back to the main road.
But, most importantly, what the hell was she doing out there in the first place? Who goes camping in Death Valley, in the middle of the summer, totally unprepared and with a total lack of knowledge? I hate to think it, but Susan Smith comes to mind!!

Pete
08-12-2009, 09:31
.... I hate to think it, but Susan Smith comes to mind!!

Don't think so. It all sounds like fun until something goes wrong.

Sticking the vehicle was not done on purpose. You'd be amazed at the number of people who own 4x4s or all wheel drives and don't know how to use them to get the most from it's capability. "Hey, its a 4x4, it can go anywhere."

Ever see a 4x4 with two opposing wheels up in the air just spinning away?

If it was done to pull a "Susan Smith" she stood a very good chance of checking out herself. Suicide by desert is not a nice way to go.

Your "Why" questions are good questions but how do they relate to desert survival? The nearest place was 20 miles away and they had no maps of the area.

The simplest plan would have been to tell a neighbor "We are going......and will be back Sunday evening. If we're not back by Monday morning could you notify the police and the park?"

And then Monday afternoon be ready to burn your flat tire.

Saoirse
08-12-2009, 09:44
Don't think so. It all sounds like fun until something goes wrong.

And then Monday afternoon be ready to burn your flat tire.

I thought about the tires, as well. Not to mention the seats and canvas top if she had one (the last resort). I am assuming the base didn't have cameras and patrols like the illustrious and oh so secretive Area 51.

And as far as the Smith comment, it was a knee jerk reaction to letting one's child die and the dog surviving. As much as I love my dog, my kid would have had priority!! But, we don't know anything about this woman, her knowledge and her motivation for really being out there. I am curious how the investigation is going to go and what the outcome will be.

albeham
08-12-2009, 09:51
Dog, Cat, snake, etc, all a food source .


Lack of education, and training , and fore sight.

My wife hated going off the trail with me, until she read this...

Sad, very sad.. I too have a sense that something is afoot with this...


:confused:



AL

Pete
08-12-2009, 10:24
Story Update

Ruled an accident

http://www.rgj.com/article/20090811/NEWS07/90811026/1321/news

"LAS VEGAS (AP) — A coroner’s spokeswoman says the 11-year-old boy who died after getting stranded with his mother for several days near California’s Death Valley perished from dehydration and heat exposure........."


Little more details in this story:

http://www.lvrj.com/news/52948912.html

"......The boy was dying or already dead by the time the two were reported missing Wednesday evening by family members in Ohio......."

Here is a link to a Park Map.

http://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/upload/DEVAmap1a.pdf

Go way down to the bottom of the park and then look west. You'll see Trona. From the looks of it I'd guess there was a range of hills between the town and park. Also, that section of the park is wayyyy out in the middle of nowhere.

mojaveman
08-12-2009, 10:40
I feel sorry for the people involved but question her judgement and knowledge.

I learned a very hard lesson out in Joshua Tree one time when I much younger an dumber.

Always take more water than you think you are going to need. If I were her I would have taken at least two jerry cans full of water but probably more.

As Pete said, know the limitations of what you can and can't do with your vehicle.

Have some type of survival/rescue plan that involves non electronic means of communication. Large fire, tracers, fireworks etc.

She should have left some type of flight plan.

The Desert is just as interesting and more pleasant during the cooler months.

Pete
08-12-2009, 11:03
Snagged from a DV forum.

"Death Valley National Park (CA)
Boy Dies Of Exposure, Mother Survives

Rangers received several phone calls from concerned family members on the evening of August 5th regarding the failure of a woman and her son to return from a camping trip in the park. Alicia Sanchez, 28, a traveling nurse, was scheduled to report back to her current assignment at a Las Vegas hospital that evening, but hadn t yet appeared. The family reported that she d planned to come to the park with her 11-year-old son to camp and visit Scotty s Castle, and that she d sent a text message on August 1st saying that she was in the desert and changing a flat tire. Ranger Matt Martin checked the high elevation campgrounds in the Panamint Mountains (Wildrose, Mahogany Flats, and Thorndike) and district ranger Aaron Shandor checked the Furnace Creek campground and the surrounding developed area neither with any success. Rangers then began planning for a full-scale search beginning at first light on Thursday August 6th, including the use of a VX-31 SAR helicopter from China Lake Naval Air Station. The VX-31, with rangers providing ground support, began searching the south end of the park at 6 a.m., as did other rangers and members of the Civil Air Patrol.

At 10 a.m., ranger Amber Nattrass came upon a wheel rim with a flat tire and a water bottle on a dirt road leading into the Owlshead Mountains at the southwest corner of the park. Only one set of tire tracks were seen. Nattrass followed this set of tire tracks and discovered that the vehicle had left the established roadway and been driven into designated wilderness. Nattrass continued to follow the tracks and found Sanchez s vehicle just after 11 a.m. She found the woman conscious but suffering from exposure and severe dehydration; her son had not survived. Nattrass, a park medic, began treating Sanchez after requesting a medevac. VX-31 with paramedics on board responded, and they began assisting Nattrass with medical care. A medevac helicopter from Mercy Air in Pahrump, Nevada, arrived and transported Sanchez to Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas. Nattrass was later joined by rangers Scott Bagocious and Mike Nattrass, and an Inyo County sheriff s deputy. San Bernardino County Sheriffs Department investigators arrived later in the afternoon. San Bernadino County is leading the investigation. Lake Mead is providing CISM support. [Submitted by Brent Pennington, Chief Ranger] .."

The flat tire/rim and water bottle was discarded?

I'm sorry, you all may have been right. This chick must have had something else running through her mind.

And our old friend Mr GPS had a hand in this also.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h8B3QtNKD974PokDDXFIEUlpGIcwD99UBDVG0

Richard
08-12-2009, 11:58
I'll never go to the desert without my steel wool, 9-volt battery, and jar of honey ever again!* :rolleyes:

Richard's $.02 :munchin

* Inside QP joke.

ZonieDiver
08-13-2009, 10:18
I'll never go to the desert without my steel wool, 9-volt battery, and jar of honey ever again!* :rolleyes:

Richard's $.02 :munchin

* Inside QP joke.

Richard,

Don't forget your Discovery Channel TV crew, or your cool made-up for TV "nom de guerre"! :D

Richard
08-13-2009, 11:42
Don't forget your Discovery Channel TV crew, or your cool made-up for TV "nom de guerre"! :D

Already got a deal in the works with Canal 5 out of France under the name of Jacques Strapez - watch for it! :p

Richard's $.02 :munchin

Praetorian
08-13-2009, 12:03
I too was/am shaking my head after reading this, but not the same way Pete was shaking his. Some things just don't add up and smells kinda fishy to me.

They got a flat tire, she changed it, continued on, went off road, got stuck, went through their 24 16oz waters/pop-tarts/and cheese sammiches, the dog and the mom survive but the boy dies.......

I'm sorry, but my Spidey Senses are tingling on this one. Be interesting to keep an eye on the investigation with this one.

Yep.... Something does not smell right on this one. They started off with 12 quarts of water.... Its not a lot in that environment but Im wondering if the boy got any of it....

frostfire
08-15-2009, 00:12
Yep.... Something does not smell right on this one. They started off with 12 quarts of water.... Its not a lot in that environment but Im wondering if the boy got any of it....

Wasn't there at all, but her being a nurse should mean that she does know about dehydration, heat stroke, and the entire cascade towards death. Also, folks who adore motherhood in the OB-peds class always told me they'd give up their life for their children.

Pete
08-25-2011, 18:25
The Desert claims two more - or How to kill yourself in less than seven hours.

Two tourists killed by heat stroke after getting out of car to go for help in California desert

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2029970/Two-tourists-killed-heat-stroke-getting-car-help-California-desert.html#ixzz1W5OLEcfO


"..........Augustinus Van Hove, 44, and Helena Nuellet, 38, drove into Joshua Tree National Park before noon on Monday and took a remote, dirt road to head towards Arizona, according to police.

Nearly seven hours later, a couple visiting the park found Mr Van Hove's body on the edge of Black Eagle Mine Road......................"

PSM
08-25-2011, 18:47
"..........Augustinus Van Hove, 44, and Helena Nuellet, 38, drove into Joshua Tree National Park before noon on Monday and took a remote, dirt road to head towards Arizona, according to police.

Nearly seven hours later, a couple visiting the park found Mr Van Hove's body on the edge of Black Eagle Mine Road......................"

'Tweren't the desert, it was stupidity or suicide. They were driving a black Dodge Charger on BEMR to ARIZONA! :eek:

Pat

mojaveman
08-25-2011, 19:26
It gets good and hot out there this time of year. Dodge Chargers and sandy desert roads don't mix well. Could they have sat in the car with the air conditioning running until nightfall and then walked back out? Being that they are Europeans they've probably never experienced the California desert in the summertime. Bet they didn't have very much water either. This kind of reminds me of the German family that dissapeared in Death Valley some years back. Their remains weren't found until several years after they went missing. As I stated previously, the Desert is just as nice and a little cooler in the fall and winter.

A tragedy.

mark46th
08-29-2011, 09:49
A 4X4 only means you get stuck further from help....

Richard
08-29-2011, 10:33
As of two weeks ago, there have been 14 heat related deaths here in Dallas County alone. It has been a pretty long, hot summer this year, and now we're into high school football season where the temps on the sports fields can hover around 135 degrees. It has been consistently around 88-90 degrees at 0530 when I go to my boot camp workout - it was 80 degrees this morning...damn near a cold snap.

And so it goes...

Richard :munchin

Doc Diego
08-30-2011, 17:16
Sad news indeed...the wife and I were camping in Death Valley two weeks ago. At Furnace Creek Inn at 1800 hrs it was 120F in the shade. At altitude (8000-11,000ft) we hiked Telescope Peak. Beautiful country, but unforgiving. Who would be dumb enough to go off-road with their kid in that environment? Felony Stupid!

Badger52
09-01-2011, 10:16
The nearest place was 20 miles away and they had no maps of the area.Holy cow. It's tragic that what sounds on the surface as a quick attempt for a mom to have a weekend day (for her) off & do some (absent father) male-type bonding with son cascaded in this way. I can only shake my head. Pop tarts & cheese sandwiches. Elementary school cafeteria made the menu? Scouting program anyone?

Pete, good observation on tools. The list of people who've never seen a shepherd's jack gets longer by the minute along with those who think cars always came with a piece of target material as a spare. Mine never get traded away with a vehicle; they're considered other equipment.

wet dog
09-01-2011, 13:10
A 4X4 only means you get stuck further from help....

2 wheel drive IN, 4 wheel drive OUT.

RTK
09-04-2011, 23:35
Sad news indeed...the wife and I were camping in Death Valley two weeks ago. At Furnace Creek Inn at 1800 hrs it was 120F in the shade.

The last few days of the last NTC rotation we were looking at 115F with higher temps the farther north you went. With the last rotational unit coming from JBLM they were pulling 3-4 guys out of the Box a day the entire 14 training days for heat related injuries.

Spent the last night in the Box on the southern ridge overlooking Death Valley - A more beautiful sunset I have not seen anywhere else.