Wellman Divide Rescue

April 28, 2012
San Jacinto Mountains

Written by Mike Herman

On Saturday, April 28, 2012, at approximately 1830 hours I received a call from Gwenda Yates. She stated that a P.C.T. hiker had become separated from his group, and needed to be picked up. Furthermore, I was told that Riverside Sheriff's Star 9 had located the subject and that he was not injured.

I arrived at Hemet-Ryan Airport and was given a quick briefing by Pilot Chad Marlatt and Technical Flight Officer (T.F.O.) Eric Hannum. Eric provided me with a "screamer suit" and an informal demonstration on securing the subject in it.

The subject, known only as "John”, was located at the 8400' level near the old Wellman Cabin. At approximately 2010 hours we arrived near the subject. I was lowered 100 feet to the ground by Star 9's hoist. I located the subject, confirmed that he was not injured, and then briefed him about his safe extraction. I then packaged him in the "screamer suit" (without his backpack) and signaled the T.F.O. to raise him. I secured John's backpack on top of my personal pack and was hoisted into the airship. While airborne we observed two lights coming from a nearby ridge at the pilot's 3:00. John said to me, "Hey, those are my friends. Do you think that you guys could drop me off over there?” I looked at him and flatly responded, “No”.

Star 9 set down on the helipad at the Sheriff’s Lake Hemet Substation. John and his backpack were then offloaded by the T.F.O. and met by a Riverside County Sheriff deputy. Eric boarded the ship with the "screamer suit" and we departed for Ryan Air Base. We landed at approximately 2040 hours and debriefed.

RMRU team members present: Mike Herman.

Aviation assets: Riverside Sheriff's Star 9/Chad Marlatt (pilot) and Eric Hannum (TFO).

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