Search crews seeing more rescues due to heavy Oregon snowfall - KPTV - FOX 12

Search crews seeing more rescues due to heavy Oregon snowfall

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Volunteers at Mountain Wave Search and Rescue have seen an increase in the number of emergency rescues with the recent heavy snowfall.

Just this week there have been reports on three separate cases of people getting lost or stuck on snow-covered forest roads throughout the state, and Tuesday night, eight volunteers rescued two men who whose truck got stuck in deep snow near Timothy Lake.

Search and rescue volunteers told FOX 12 part of the problem is that people rely more heavily on GPS apps that can misdirect them.

In the case of the two men rescued Tuesday, they intentionally drove their Chevrolet Silverado through a snowy forest road, to see how deep the snow was and got stuck.

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office is not identifying the two men, but search and rescue volunteers said they were locals who are familiar with the terrain.

“They were just going for an afternoon drive just to check out the snow,” Mountain Wave SAR Command Officer Chris Nelson said. “All of a sudden, they were surprised with 18 inches of snow.”

Nelson said the men were stuck on road 5810 near Timothy Lake for nearly six hours before his crew was able to reach them.

“They were not prepared to stay overnight, nor were they prepared to get their vehicle out,” he added.

The rescue veteran said it’s important for those traveling through snowy terrain to have emergency supplies to last each person in the car at least 24 hours, including food, water, a flashlight, a fire source and a well-charged cell phone.

That last precaution is precisely how rescuers were able to locate the two men stuck Tuesday night.

“They were just at the right spot to have enough signal to call for help,” Nelson explained. “We were able to look at the GPS coordinates from where the call came from.”

Still, not everyone is as lucky, he said.

For those looking to avoid the adventure of getting lost or stuck on the mountain, Nelson advises that they should keep in mind that snow is rarely cleared from secondary roads.

Travelers can also tell those more treacherous roads apart from main roads because they have 3 or 4 digits in their name. Main roads only have 2 and tend to be safer to drive on.

Nelson did have one last word of advice for those traveling through snowy areas. A paper map will never fail, and they can be picked up at any forest service office.

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