Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

General Palm Springs area.

Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Sean » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:05 pm

OtherHand wrote:OK, you want weirdness??...

Ummm...so just what is a "regional overhead team" and why are they called "investigators"?


What's so weird about it? The locals can't find these two, so they bring in the Feds. It's a team from the Investigative Services Branch of the NPS. They have a website and a Facebook page.

They are bringing in drone operators. So I guess "regional overhead team" refers to the region-based NPS investigators who will manage the aerial ("overhead") search for the bodies.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby OtherHand » Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:09 pm

Sean wrote:
OtherHand wrote:OK, you want weirdness??...

Ummm...so just what is a "regional overhead team" and why are they called "investigators"?


What's so weird about it? The locals can't find these two, so they bring in the Feds. It's a team from the Investigative Services Branch of the NPS. They have a website and a Facebook page.

They are bringing in drone operators. So I guess "regional overhead team" refers to the region-based NPS investigators who will manage the aerial ("overhead") search for the bodies.


Ummmm, when a local search doesn't pan out, they don't call in the Feds. That's not the way it works. Searches begin with just the local SAR teams responsible for the area, and if not found within X number of hours, it goes to what used to be called "OES" (as in Calif Office of Emergency Services....it's called something else now). At that point teams from surrounding counties (and even states) show up to assist. But after about a week or so, searches are scaled back presumably because it's felt the subject is deceased and not necessarily worth the risk exposure to searchers. This regional overhead team aren't SAR guys. They are something else. Their arrival is....interesting.

In bureaucrat-speak "overhead" usually refers to a higher level, broad review group, not literally overhead, as in drones. The drone group actually was from the Grand Canyon NP, and is one of the few (only??) parks which has a drone SAR group component due to all the hoops needed to jump through. From what I've seen their drone aircraft are rather basic and haven't met with a lot of success in JTNP. But they are the only group JTNP felt comfortable in the park because of prior work at the Grand Canyon.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby cynthia23 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:19 pm

Thanks for your 'even-handed' thoughts, OtherHand. Your extensive personal experience in JT and on the Ewasko matter makes your perspective very valuable. I do agree it's curious that the feds are sending in these folks.

Sean, I honestly don't understand why you seem so personally offended by my thoughts that this could be a crime. Why shouldn't I think this MIGHT be a crime? I don't have a fixed idea of what happened--I am not sure at all. But one possibility, among others, is murder or kidnapping. Why should my saying that upset you? To me, this disagreement almost seems like this might break down along gender lines--women, studies show, are (no surprise) more aware of crime and more concerned about becoming a victim. They also tend to think more along social lines and attend to social cues more. So to me, the strange background circumstances bring to mind a possible crime. And personally, I have been a victim of crime. They do happen. But I understand that to others, that perspective might seem hard to understand.

That said--again, I have NO IDEA what happened. Nobody does. There are many possibilities here--from the sadly simple (the searchers simply missed them) to the odd (they crawled or fell into a deep crevice), to the unlucky (they crossed a road) to the criminal (a planned murder, or spontaneous kidnapping.) I rule nothing out, or in.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Sean » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:29 pm

OtherHand wrote:Ummmm, when a local search doesn't pan out, they don't call in the Feds. That's not the way it works.


In a national park the Feds are in charge. And in this case they brought in more Feds to do specialized work after the local and state agencies bailed. At least that's my understanding from the press release.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Sean » Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:08 am

cynthia23 wrote:To me, this disagreement almost seems like this might break down along gender lines...


Are you calling Ed a woman?

Cynthia, your position doesn't personally offend me. I'm not emotionally invested in this discussion. For me it's an exercise in logic. I wanted to see if I could convince you of something. I failed. Have a nice day!
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Sean » Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:43 am

OtherHand wrote:In bureaucrat-speak "overhead" usually refers to a higher level, broad review group, not literally overhead, as in drones.


Might you be thinking of the word oversight? As in oversight committee?

Overhead is commonly associated with drone photography. For example: Overhead Films.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Ed » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:26 am

I think women do tend to be more aware of and sensitive to men-on-women violence, and understandably so, given the statistics. Or if you are not into statistics, simply watch the local news. On the other hand, a few weeks ago my wife put the hammer down and insisted we watch Fatal Attraction. I had always said I would never see it because of the bunny-boil scene. I must admit, it was a good movie. But once is enough, I will pass on seconds.

OtherHand seems to know much more than the rest of us about SAR procedures. But I personally don't read much into groups from other National Parks coming in. It strikes me as what brother/sister agencies do when they have temporarily idle resources, or want to experiment and train with some new technology. I certainly welcome any continuation of the search, like everyone else here, I'm sure.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby OtherHand » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:55 am

Sean wrote:
In a national park the Feds are in charge. And in this case they brought in more Feds to do specialized work after the local and state agencies bailed. At least that's my understanding from the press release.


You're making a rather strong assertion based only upon a press release the rest of us have also read. In fact, in California SAR responsibility within national parks is the purview of County Sheriffs. Most parks have MOUs or agreements in place that further define and assign responsibilities as counties would prefer not to expend their resources within parks. And large parks, like Yosemite, have their own very extensive SAR staffing that exceed the capabilities of the county they are in. But county sheriffs have ultimate SAR responsibility in California.

Fun fact: Should you ever be unfortunate enough to come across human remains in the back country, you can save yourself a bit of time by reporting it directly to the county sheriff and not a ranger. In the absence of a federal crime, the sheriff has investigatory responsibility. Since JTNP is split between San Bernardino and Riverside counties, I always kept close track of which county I was in when searching for Bill.

And I'm fairly certain the phase "overhead team" in this context has nothing to do with drones. I say this as someone whose career was spent in the world of bureaucracy and have come across the label before, well before drones were a thing. It was generally used to describe management review groups that would second guess decisions, create various flavors of trouble and find ways to punish people.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby zippetydude » Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:12 pm

OtherHand wrote:
I'm fairly certain the phase "overhead team" in this context has nothing to do with drones ... It was generally used to describe management review groups that would second guess decisions, create various flavors of trouble and find ways to punish people.


Otherhand: Made me laugh! I am aware of such groups myself. Let's hope Sean is right and it's merely referring to drones!

Cynthia: Interesting point about how individuals feel about crime. I always thought of crime theoretically, as something that I see on TV, until a group tried to jump me in Palm Springs one night as I was walking alone back from a casino...it's much more real to me now!

Sean: I think your perspective of showing respect in our posts is valuable...and still I did have the impression that you were expressing rational opinions ,with a bit of added emotion, in some of your posts. Not a crime to do that. Just an observation...

To all, getting back to the OP, how far could they possibly have reasonably wandered before the search was started? If that can be estimated, then a simple calculation can give the total possible area where they might have wandered. If it is possible to reject some area(s) as highly improbable, then the total possible area can be reduced further still. Are we not looking at only a few square miles? I assume SAR uses such a method, though hopefully more specific and valuable than my simplification. So, now my question, trying to be as delicate as I can, if the victims are deceased, would not the scent dogs at this point be able to find them regardless of how hidden they might be? From great distances, even, as long as they start downwind.

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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Sean » Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:14 pm

OtherHand wrote:And I'm fairly certain the phase "overhead team" in this context has nothing to do with drones.


That's probably right. I found a definition for "overhead team" at the U.S. Search & Rescue Task Force website.

A highly trained, quick response SAR management team that can respond to assist with search planning, coordination and operations. The overhead team usually consists of a search manager and one or two assistants.


I also left a message for George Land, the NPS contact.
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