Huntington Lake Man Found

posted Apr 13, 2021, 6:28 PM by Ray Bloch   [ updated Apr 13, 2021, 6:28 PM ]

Search and Rescue Team Finds Missing Elderly Man Deceased
Around 12:15 pm on Saturday, ground search teams found a deceased person who was later identified as 84 year old Augusto Zarate of Yorba Linda, CA.  This was in a remote wooded area east of Huntington Lake.  It is located about one mile away from the cabin where Mr. Zarate had been staying.  A cause of death has not been determined.  There was no visible trauma to his body when he was discovered in the wilderness.
50 members of SAR were assigned to this mission.  The Fresno County Sheriff's Office would like to thank assisting agencies for their help.  They included:
Tulare County Sheriff's Office
Madera County Sheriff's Office
Kern County Sheriff's Office
Monterey County Sheriff's Office
California Rescue Dog Association
California State Office of Emergency Services
California Army National Guard
***Information below was released on April 6th***
84 year old Augusto Zarate was last seen on April 5th between 2:00 and 3:00 pm.  He has been vacationing in an area with cabins in Huntington Lake.  This is located near Regatta Vista Lane and Huntington Vista Road.  He is not from the area, so he is not familiar with the terrain.
Approximately 30 members of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue (SAR) team looked for him Monday night, but could not find any clues.  Today we continue to search.  We have deployed resources such as ground searchers, canines, helicopters, drones and jeeps.
Zarate is 5’4”, 140 lbs. with white hair.  He was last seen wearing a dark blue flannel shirt, a dark blue Nike hat and black shoes.  He is also carrying a walking cane.  He is known to get disoriented, so it is difficult to guess where he might go.

Caution: Raging Rivers!

posted Apr 26, 2019, 11:38 AM by Ray Bloch

We have had a wonderful amount of snow up in the Sierra this year. Thank God, as we have needed it badly. The flowers are blooming as they always do in great water years. Unfortunately, spring runoff also brings danger to people who recreate along our Sierra rivers and streams. Water levels can be high and fast, not to mention the water temperatures are COLD! It can take less than a foot of water to knock the feet out from under an adult--even less for a child. When the water is high, there can be a lot of debris flowing downstream, too. 
All of this spells danger for people along the rivers and streams.

Our team regularly trains with the professional deputies of the Fresno County Sheriff's office to make sure that experts are always available for swift water rescues. We are available 24/7/365 in emergencies. For a look at some of these trainings, please see the links below:

Have fun, but be safe!

Sierra Rescue on Pacific Crest Trail

posted Aug 4, 2016, 4:04 PM by Ray Bloch

On July 28, 2016, California Highway Patrol (CHP) Helicopter 40 (H-40) was requested by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department to assist with a personal locator beacon activation.  [See CHP Video here] A personal locator beacon notifies first responders of an emergency with a latitude and longitude of the victim’s location. The GPS coordinates of the activation showed the victim was located in the area of Bear Creek southeast of Edison Lake. Due to thunderstorms in the area, the helicopter response was not immediately possible and postponed to the next morning. A Fresno County Sheriff’s Department search and rescue team hiked to the victim. The search and rescue team located the victim, Mr. Kelan Poorman of Oceanside, CA, that evening at an elevation of 8,500 ft. Mr. Poorman was suffering from flu-like symptoms, dehydration, and was unable to continue due to his condition. The search and rescue team stayed with him until H-40 was able to respond the following morning. At 6:00 a.m. on July 29, 2016, the H-40 crew of Sgt. J. Andriese (pilot) and Officer R. Hotchkiss (paramedic) responded to the area and conducted a hoist rescue of Mr. Poorman. H-40 transported Mr. Poorman to Mammoth Airport they met ground ambulance which transported him to the Mammoth hospital for treatment.

Madera County Mutual Aid

posted Jun 22, 2016, 8:29 AM by Ray Bloch

[From: Sierra News Online] MADERA COUNTY — A two-day Search & Rescue effort concluded with the very best of outcomes when a missing man was located in the Miami Motorcycle Trail area this morning.

About 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 19, the Madera County Sheriff’s Office received a report that the parents of a 21-year-old man were unable to locate him in the forested area north of Oakhurst where his vehicle was parked. Their last reported contact with him had been about 6 a.m. that morning.

Several deputies responded to the location and began searching on Sunday night, without success.

Either there are no banners, they are disabled or none qualified for this location!

On Monday morning, Commander Tyson Pogue put a call out for Madera County Search & Rescue (MADSAR) teams, canines and Off Highway Vehicles.

Searchers first conducted what is known as a “hasty search,” looking in the places most likely for someone to end up in similar circumstances — such as trails and clearings — again without success.

After conducting a full-scale search of the area, SAR Commander Pogue contacted the California Office of Emergency Services (CAL OES), requesting additional resources.

The Sheriff’s Office has mutual aid agreements with agencies throughout the state, and resources were dispatched from Fresno, Kern, Tulare and Mariposa Counties, including four addition canine teams.

Monday evening, the area was divided into grids and searchers assigned to specific areas. They did find various items belonging to the missing man during the day’s search, so they were confident he was in the area.

As darkness fell, the search scaled back and everyone regrouped in preparation for the next day’s mission. Several deputies did remain on the job throughout the night.

On Tuesday morning, one of the teams was made up of a Carda dog team, a flanker (someone who does navigation and communication so the handler can focus on the dog), and Madera County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jacob Tallmon. At about 10:30 a.m., this group finally located the young man about a mile from his vehicle, alive but very disoriented.

He had no food or water, and though uninjured, was in need of medical attention, according to Cmdr. Pogue. He was transported by ground ambulance to Madera Community Hospital.

The young man lives in Fresno, but is reportedly from Oakhurst and has family here.

“The success of this mission can be directly attributed to the hard work and training of our volunteers, sworn personnel assigned to MADSAR, and the resources that came to our aid from other counties,” says Cmdr. Pogue. “It’s a very happy ending to extremely complex and lengthy search.”

Over three-dozen personnel were involved in the efforts, including Search & Rescue volunteers, plus sworn personnel with the Madera County Sheriff’s Office and Carda search dog teams.

Placer County Mutual Aid

posted Jan 21, 2016, 10:55 AM by Ray Bloch

The team was called out to provide mutual aid to Placer County for the search of a lost skier in the vicinity of the Sugar Bowl ski area.

Balch Camp

posted Dec 3, 2015, 10:06 PM by Ray Bloch   [ updated Dec 3, 2015, 10:07 PM ]

SAR Mission 2015/11/22
The team was called out to the Balch Camp area, behind Pine Flat dam for a missing person. The person had parked his car at a PG&E facility gate, blocking the gate and initiating the call. The vehicle was towed away from the gate, but further investigation indicated that the person might be lost in the area. The SAR team was called out and within a short time, found that the person had fallen nearby and  met his demise. The body was recovered and turned over to American Ambulance crews and then Fresno County Coroners office.

Team Training, November, 2015

posted Nov 17, 2015, 8:55 PM by Ray Bloch   [ updated Nov 17, 2015, 9:02 PM ]

The SAR team met at the Potter Pass trailhead, in the Sierras above Huntington Lake at 8.300 feet altitude, for winter training. This is a trail that gets a lot of activity at all times of year. Because of the drought, there was very little snow at this time of year. This may sound nice, but it lulls hikers to take chances that might otherwise would not take. A fast moving winter storm could change things! In the past, it was common for there to be 5 feet of snow in this area. This year, there was one foot or less accumulation. Never-the-less, it was subfreezing and great conditions for training. Team One sent a group out to recon the Twin Lakes area, about 4 miles away over Potter Pass at 9,600 feet. Team One spent the night out on the trail and worked on snow camping techniques and snowshoe hiking. I saw a photo of these guys around the campfire that night, so I'm proud that they made the tough conditions like home. Team Two manned the Command Post, which is our new SARbulance vehicle. It is not yet certified for missions, so it was a great opportunity to work out the bugs and get it mission ready. Two members manned the CP, making sure that radio communications were maintained and coordinating events. The teams did great and everyone survived well in the extreme altitude and weather conditions. As is to underscore our purpose, a winter storm blew in as we were exiting the area Sunday around noon and quickly inundated the area with snow and ice. Everyone made it down the hill safely without injury. 

Veteran's Day Parade, Fresno

posted Nov 11, 2015, 9:15 PM by Ray Bloch

The Team did a wonderful job today at the 96th annual Fresno Veteran's Day Parade! The new Mountaineer SARbulance, driven by Bill Allen, made a great showing, followed by the Mountaineers. There were several times when the Mountaineers had to double-time it to keep up with the columns ahead of them. I was really struck by the huge number of people who offered their 'thank you' to the team for their efforts. Sheriff Mims stopped by to personally thank team members for their service to the Sheriff's Department and for a group photo prior to the beginning of the parade. 

It was a great day to celebrate with local veterans and the many thousands of Valley folks who came to honor them.

Folsom Hiker Found Alive!

posted Aug 29, 2015, 12:38 PM by Ray Bloch   [ updated Aug 29, 2015, 10:07 PM ]

Missing Folsom hiker Miyuki Harwood was found injured but alive after 9 days lost in the Sierras near Courtright reservoir; read more. . .

Search for Hiker, Miyuki Harwood Continues

posted Aug 28, 2015, 4:17 PM by Ray Bloch   [ updated Aug 28, 2015, 4:32 PM ]

The search for missing Sacramento-area woman Miyuki Harwood continues in the High Sierras east of Fresno

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