Lost Mountain Biker

August 22, 2002
Cleveland National Forest (near Lake Elsinore)

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By Gene Baune

RMRU was called out at 6:00pm by the Riverside Sheriffs Department to assist in a search for Norman Frank Bush Jr. (47 year old) riding his bike somewhere in the Cleveland National Forest west of Lake Elsinore.

Upon arrival the reporting party, the victims son, stated that Norman had departed their residence in Lake Elsinore on a mountain bike at 5:30am. He intended to ride from Lake Elsinore to Terra Cotta then north near Tom's Farms, and then south completing his ride near the fire station on Ortega Highway. His intention was to ride most the route off road. At 9:00am he contacted his son by phone and stated he was out of water and did not know his location. The battery on his cell phone ran out at that time. The reporting party contacted Riverside Sheriffs Office at 5:00pm and RMRU began arriving on scene by 6:00pm.

The fire department, forestry service and Corona Police Department Helicopter made a preliminary search of the major roads and truck trails with no results. Star 80 arrived at dusk but had to return to base to install their FLIR and lights for night search.

Operations determined that the best coarse of action for RMRU to take at night was a search by vehicle and then begin a ground search at dawn. As teams were forming and preparing to depart the subject arrived at his Lake Elsinore home.