Lost 43 year old male hiker

September 5, 1991
San Jacinto Peak

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A 43 year old male experienced hiker was reported missing to the Sheriff by his girlfriend on Monday evening. 18 Searchers responded to the call-out at 11:40 p.m. The subject had filed a permit stating his intended route to be Marion Mountain Trail. Teams of trackers were quickly dispatched. The subject’s car was located at the Marion Mountain trail-head. The rain earlier had washed away all possible foot prints from this area, making confirmation of any print difficult.

Monday night, teams were also dispatched on other trails: fuller Ridge Trail, Seven Pies Trail, Deer Springs Trail, and Devil’s Slide Trail. The trails were covered from Strawberry Cienega around Pacific Crest Trail to Marion Mountain Trail up to San Jacinto Peak. Also the other direction was covered from Wellman's Divide to Miller Peak to San Jacinto Peak. Tuesday morning, no sign of the subject or tracks were reported. Helicopter support for an air search was obtained by 1:00 p.m. No sighting of the subject or tracks Tuesday evening. Gathering equipment to be taken into the fieldThe base camp was moved from Marion Mountain Trail head to Keenwild Heliport to accommodate the expanding operation.

MRA call-out reported approximately 37 searchers to respond for Wednesday morning from RMRU, Hemet, San Diego, Sierra Madre, Altadena, China Lake, San Dimas, CARDA and Montrose. Sergeant Donohoo from Riverside Sheriff’s Department brought up a motor home with a telephone for base camp operations out of Keenwild Heliport.

A possible sighting from a Sierra Madre team member who had been out for a day hike on the same trail that same day was confirmed by faxing a photograph. Calls were made throughout Tuesday to other hikers who had filled out permits at the Forest Service Station.

Wednesday morning 6:00 a.m., teams arrived and were given assignments. Helicopter support transported teams to their assignments and had them all in location by 8:43 a.m. The teams were to search the trails again but in daylight. They went off trails and searched drainages covering a larger area.

During the day of the Search, Channel 4 news televised the subjects photograph. A call came in at 5:30 p.m. from a hiker who confirmed seeing the subject Monday evening after two hail storms.Bell Jetranger provides helicopter support This caller stated to have seen the subject coming up from Little Round Valley to San Jacinto Peak. The caller also informed us that there was a lightning storm heading to the peak at the same time they saw the subject heading up to the peak.

Wednesday evening, still no sign of the subject or tracks from the search teams. OES/MRA call out reported 55 searchers to respond for the Thursdays Morning deployment of teams. The additional teams to assist in the search were San Bernardino, San Gorgonio, Montrose and IMRT.

Thursday morning teams were ready for their assignments but helicopters were delayed. Teams were in place by 11:35 a.m. at 1:39 p.m. China Lake, assigned to technical terrain, reported hearing a voice 1000 feet down the peak at Snow Creek. The voice was confirmed as the subject Martin Copeland and he was reported as being okay. A helicopter was dispatched to the sight for pickup and extraction of all teams in the field. By 4:00 p.m. all teams were removed from the field, briefed and fed.