Written by Kevin Kearn
RMRU was requested at 7 PM to assist a team of four workers. They were slightly disoriented in the foothills west of Mt. Santiago and in the vicinity of Deleo Regional Park in Corona. The work party had been out in the rain all day without wet weather gear. One of the four also had reported significant pain in his knees, but was still able to walk. The temperature had dropped into the low 50s after sunset and the rain had picked up again, thereby increasing conditions for hypothermia.
Cameron was first on the scene and got an updated report on the work party. Fortunately the Riverside Sherriff’s Department had obtained an accurate grid location for the missing team in a ravine. The rest of RMRU’s element arrived by 08:30 PM and we established a command post, distributed radios, machetes, and ensured there was sufficient extra personal gear to distribute to the four subjects when found.
RMRU launched a four-man team, led by Alan, on an initial direction towards the ravine, however the presence of a huge quarry (over 2-miles wide), with 10-ft high fence surrounding it, presented a significant obstacle for the team to circumnavigate. Trying to find a way around the fence disrupted momentum during which time the work party attempted to move. The field team had almost been picked up to get reinserted by truck further to the north around the other side of the quarry in order to get to a better approach into the ravine. Just then the team spotted a light from the subjects party moving south below a steep ridge above the quarry. The Riverside Sheriff’s Department also reported that they believed the workers had somehow found their way inside the fence line.
The RMRU team focused on the light and quickly entered the quarry through a gap in a poorly secured dirt road access gate they had located earlier. At 9:40 PM, the team went into some thick brush and on the back side of a ridge headed towards the subjects. Glenn Henderson was able to observe lights from both the RMRU team and subjects from the RMRU Base in the park and relayed guidance. After twenty minutes, members of the team established voice and then visual contact with the subjects. RMRU then reached the subjects after descending from the crest of the ridge at 10:02 PM.
The subjects were wet and exhausted. They accepted water and flashlights, but refused food or additional clothing, they wanted to keep moving. The subject with the bad knees seemed to be in good shape and all were able to follow RMRU safely back out to Deleo Park. The operation ended at 10:30 PM.
Rescuers at Base (Alan, Glenn, Eric, Cameron, and Kevin)
RMRU Members Involved: Cameron Dickinson, Glenn Henderson, Eric Holden, Kevin Kearn, Alan Lovegreen, and Gwenda Yates.