Man Lost in Desert

August 8th, 2004
Salton Sea

by Travis Henderson

This search was on a miserably hot and humid day at the Salton Sea. We got the all to assist teams from the desert that were already on scene.

We arrived around noon and immediately started gulping down ice water, since it was so disgustingly hot. During the briefing we learned that four men had taken a 1980's Trans Am onto the rugged dirt roads near the Salton Sea. They had gone fishing in the canal and had gotten their ill-equipped car stuck in the sand on the drive home. They had tried for a few hours to free the car but eventually conceded that it was stuck and that they would have to walk back. The highway was several miles away and the temperature was well over 110 degrees with an appallingly high humidity level. And to make matters worse they had little to no water. After a few hours of walking one of the men said they were going the wrong way. The other three disagreed. There was an argument and the one man went his own way.

The three men finally made it to the highway after 2000. They were picked up by a passing car and were so dehydrated they needed immediate hospitalization. The next morning they had not heard from the one man who had gone off alone. So they called the Sheriff's office and the search was underway.

Just as we started to deploy into the field the subject was found home. What we found out was that the lone walker actually did go the right way. He made it to the highway hours before his friends did and just went home, not knowing that his friends were still very much in danger out in the desert. He was at home while his buddies were in the hospital. He called them the next morning to hang out and was told that there was a search going on for him and that he should probably call the Sheriff's department. He did and we all went home shortly after, very much relieved that we didn't have to hike around out there in that heat. A total of 10 members were present.