May 13, 2016
JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, Calif – On Thursday, May 12, Jeffrey Smithling and his cousin Chad Smithling (age 48 of Yucca Valley) were riding their motorcycles in the Park area south of Yucca Valley when Chad crashed and injured his ribs. While both of them were riding back to Yucca Valley, Chad became separated from Jeffrey. Jeffrey made it back to Yucca Valley where friends and family members began looking for Chad for several hours. When they could not locate Chad, Jeffrey called the Sheriff’s Department for assistance at about 5:46 p.m.
Patrol deputies, the Morongo Basin Search and Rescue Team, Joshua Tree NP Rangers, and Sheriff’s Aviation were utilized in the search for Chad. The search continued into the night, and at 9:54 p.m. Sheriff’s Aviation located Chad. The Sheriff’s helicopter crew landed and took Chad aboard and flew him to the Morongo Basin California Highway Patrol helicopter pad, where Chad was transported to High Desert Medical Center (HDMC) by ambulance for dehydration and injury to his ribs. Chad was later released from HDMC.