Their bravery and technical skills saved the lives of three hikers and their two dogs. They aren't members of Seal Team 6 but this cohesive group carried out a daring rescue this weekend in Northern California as if they were. We salute the men and women of Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue all-volunteer crew.
In what Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue called “our most complex rescue to date,” three hikers were rescued from the cliff above No Pass Point south of Shelter Cove. The two men, Pierce Shippam, Timothy Phillips, and one woman, Whitney Hackett, as well as two dogs had hiked down a creek to the ocean. When the tide started coming in they clambered up the cliff. They ended up stranded in an area of Pampas grass and using a cell phone to call for help.
Here are some of the intense details of the Shelter Cove rescue:
UPDATE 1:02 P.M.: The first victim and dog have reached the beach!
UPDATE 11:45 A.M.: “One of the rescuers has reached the victims,” Diana Totten just called in by phone from Dead Man’s Gulch to announce. “They are going to bring one at a time from where they are all the way down to the beach….It is such a technical and complicated rescue,” she went on to explain. “We have 4 ropes. We need to have safety for everything we do. Ropes to pull up. Ropes to bring down. This is taking a huge amount equipment”
She’s grateful that Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue team and Shelter Cove Fire have gotten alot of grants and raised a lot of money from fundraisers. “We are dealing with equipment bought with money from Humboldt Co. Office of Emergency Services. [The crew has] the best equipment and has spent a lot of years training… As I sit here, it looks like the navy seals are here. We have 18 people that are doing the rescue here.”
At this point, Totten isn’t willing to divulge the plan to bring the victims down. “This is a very fluid rescue,” she says. “Things can be changed. We’re probably dealing with people who have never repelled before. There are a lot of rocks falling and a high chance of injuries. We’ve ordered a trauma bag to be ready. There are rocks the size of basketballs. If something falls on someone, we want to be able to treat ‘em and evacuate as soon as possible.”
UPDATE 10:25 A.M.: Diana Totten former rescue worker who is on the scene at Dead Man’s Gulch described a terrifying rescue attempt being set up by the well respected Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue team (SHTR) and Shelter Cove Fire crew. “The risk level is extreme,” she explained.
The all volunteer crews (no government agency people are involved at this point) shot a parachute cord out into the water which in turn the rescue swimmers were able to pull over No Pass Point. Read the rest [...]