Body recovery

December 17, 1979
Ortega Highway

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By Pete Carlson

GRIM BUT NECESSARY - Clockwise from the left, RMRU members Pete Carlson, Jim Garvey, Walt Walker, Kevin Walker and Avery Powers guide the wheeled litter, with the body of an unidentified young man in it, as it raised up to the Ortega Highway. (photo by Jim Fairchild)At about 0900 hours team coordinator Al Andrews received a call from the Elsinore station of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. Because of the steepness of the terrain, our assistance was needed in bringing a body, of a male in his late teens, back up to the highway. By 1030 hours we had enough members to start the evacuation. The body was about 275 feet below the highway on a 50 degree slope that was densely covered with brush. Walt Walker and I went down with brush hooks to clear the way for the wheeled litter, while Larry Roland saw that all would be in order on top. Once set up, Craig Beasley lowered the litter with Kevin Walker and Jim Garvey along side to guide it down the narrow chute. As they approached I set a sling around a large boulder and attached a pulley because we had to make a 45 degree turn to reach the body. We quickly loaded the body into the litter and then tied it in. Since the raise was being conducted from a highway turnout we were able to hook the raise rope to Joe Erickson's car. Craig Beasley was the belay and Larry Roland took charge as safety officer on top. With all in order, we started the raise. Jim Fairchild and Avery Powers joined the four of us in guiding the litter as we were pulled back to the highway. With the sad task completed, we headed towards Elsinore for lunch, and then back to work.