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Two rescue calls prompt Crook County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue to offer tips to stay safe in backcountry

Crook County Sheriff's Office SAR

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) – Two recent rescue calls for people stranded in the backcountry prompted Crook County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue to issue some tips Monday on staying safe in the outdoors.

SAR was activated last Wednesday after a partial cellphone call was received at Crook County 911 regarding a stranded party in the McKay area, a rural area north of Prineville, Deputy Andy Pearson said.

The caller lost service and the phone could not be recalled or a better location determined. Eight SAR team members responded to the area with snowmobiles and a specialized, tracked side-by-side vehicle, Pearson said.

After search efforts began in the area of Forest Service Roads 27 and 33, the stranded person contacted 911 and advised they were able to get themselves out of the area without more help, the deputy said.

"SAR was very glad to hear the stranded party was able to safely get out of the area without additional assistance and would like to remind those traveling into mountainous areas to take proper equipment even for a short outing," the deputy said.

Then, on Saturday, Crook County SAR was notified of a stranded motorist in the area of the Ochoco Ranger Station. Pearson said, “The stranded subject was fortunate they were able to receive a reliable cell signal to alert authorities.”

Using GPS coordinates, SAR was able to confirm and place the subject on Judy Creek Road, a rural area within the Ochoco National Forest boundary northeast of Prineville.

Due to heavy snow accumulations, the five SAR team members who responded used the tracked side-by-side vehicle to contact and bring the stranded person to safety. Pearson said the person had food and water, was uninjured and remained with his vehicle until emergency responders arrived.

SAR offered these tips when traveling into undeveloped areas:

1) Be aware of predicted changes in weather in the area that you traveling through.
2) Let someone know where you are going, when you will be back and stick to your plan.
3) Remember that cell phone coverage can be spotty or non-existent.
4) Have warm clothing, food and water with you even for short trip.
5) Stay with your vehicle if you are stuck.

For more information about safety in the mountains, please go to:

For more information on how to join Crook County Sheriff Search and Rescue Team, go to:
Crook County Sheriff Search and Rescue Membership (

Article Topic Follows: Crook County

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