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Search & Rescue

Personal Emergency Transmitter leads to rescue of distressed hiker

September 7, 2017

MOUNT BALDY, Calif – On Sunday, September 3 at 2:09 p.m., San Bernardino County Sheriff Dispatch received notification from the International Emergency Response Coordination Center (I.E.R.C.C.) about a person who was in distress in the San Bernardino Mountains near Mount San Antonio (also known as Mt. Baldy) in Goode Canyon.

The I.E.R.C.C. monitor Personal Emergency Transmitters (PET) often carried by hikers, which allow them to send distress signals that can include their location in degrees of latitude and longitude. Some devices are also capable of transmitting text messages. Using a Garmin inReach PET, Michael Patchen (age 48 of Marina Del Rey) sent a distress signal with a text stating that he was sliding down the side of the mountain and needed help.

The sheriff’s desert patrol helicopter (40King6) quickly responded to the area and located Patchen at the coordinates received via the inReach device. He was located at around the 8,500-foot level in very steep inaccessible terrain. Due to his location, the crew requested the Sheriff’s rescue helicopter to perform a hoist rescue.

Air Rescue 306 helicopter responded to the scene and lowered an Air Medic approximately 100 feet down to Patchen. Patchen was placed into a rescue harness, hoisted up to the helicopter and flown to waiting ground units. Patchen sustained only superficial injuries.

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