Body Recovery for Deceased Hunter

October 7, 2006
Kitching Peak

by Kevin Walker

RMRU member Gwenda Yates received a call from RSO mid Saturday morning asking for a RMRU member to fly with RSO Star 9 to assist CDF evacuate a male adult who had perished from a heart attack while deer hunting on the slopes of Kitching Peak, almost directly north of the Morongo Casino in the Banning Pass. The bulk of RMRU was training on Tahquitz Rock in Idyllwild. Kevin Walker was working Saturday at the family printing business and was available. Kevin responded to Hemet Ryan Airport, and flew with TFO Kevin Boss and Pilot Eric to western slopes of Kitching Peak. The subject was approximately 500 feet down from a large flat area along one of the many fire and truck trails that crisscross the slopes of the San Bernardino Mountains. The subject along with friends and family had been hunting. While tracking a deer down a very steep path, the gentleman succumbed to a heart attack. Because of the steep and dangerous terrain it was decided by CDF personnel that it would be safer to long-line the subject out rather than attempt a risky carry out back to the vehicle above.

Star 9 landed and Kevin along with CDF personnel descended to the subject's location. The gentleman was placed in the stokes litter, secured, and with the long line in place pilot Eric positioned the Sheriff's helicopter above the rescue personnel. The horizontal spider rigging was attached to the end of the long line and the subject was flown back to the landing zone.

As the rescue personnel hiked back up, family and friends who had arrived at the accident site gathered to morn and be with on another. Equipment was placed back in the helicopter, and RSO personnel departed.

RMRU sends our regrets and sympathy to the family of the departed.