Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27/17]

General Palm Springs area.

Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby cynthia23 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:48 am

Yes, you're right Wildhorse, there are still a lot of unanswered questions here, both about how they got so badly lost, and the search afterwards. Hopefully there will be a thorough review so that some good can come out of something so sad.
Q: How many therapists does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Only one, but the light bulb has to want to change ...
cynthia23
 
Posts: 1204
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 3:33 pm
Location: Rancho Mirage

Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby drndr » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:02 am

Glad there's closure.

I think it might be interesting to know where they thought the cell phone ping was and where they were actually found. How accurate it may have been. Might give some insight to Ewasko. It would be a good read to someday have the details of the find. How close had they ben in previous searches? Etc? I liked reading Otherhand's S&R write ups. I think it shows how easily it can be to miss evidence.
"Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time"
drndr
 
Posts: 183
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 11:10 am
Location: Riverside

Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby OtherHand » Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:43 pm

There were in fact two cell pings recorded. I don't know why that wasn't really publicly announced.

The first ping occurred at 2 PM and the coordinates given (sorry, I don't have them at hand at the moment) were about 3/4s of a mile NNW of the intersection of Covington Road and the turn off to Upper Covington. Yeah, I know.....weird.

The second ping is even stranger. It came in at 4 PM supposedly from a location high on the slopes just a bit SSE of Quail Spring.

I will hazard a guess that the cell tower probably recorded a distance from the tower, but no location beyond that. More guessing is the cell company's engineers looked for traces of the handsets signal on the different antenna sectors and based upon observed signal strengths computed locations. At this point it doesn't appear to have been a very good job which resulted in the wasting of SAR resources in areas that had nothing to do with reality.
OtherHand
 
Posts: 202
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 2:07 pm

Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby zippetydude » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:49 pm

Can anyone post a map of where the searches took place and the location where they were actually found? How far had they actually traveled?

z
User avatar
zippetydude
 
Posts: 2558
Joined: Tue May 09, 2006 5:40 am

Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby cynthia23 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:47 pm

Yes, I'd certainly like to see that as well..

It sounds like from what OtherHand is saying that the cell phone ping 'locations' were likely completely wrong. OtherHand, why do you think that's so? Isn't it just a question of making the correct calculations? Or is there some 'art' (i.e. guesswork) involved in making these calculations?
Q: How many therapists does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Only one, but the light bulb has to want to change ...
cynthia23
 
Posts: 1204
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 3:33 pm
Location: Rancho Mirage

Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby OtherHand » Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:03 pm

I'm not really an expert on how cell phones locate ( one would have thought I'd have learned something by now) but my understanding is that for non-911 calls usually the only data obtained is the distance from the cell tower. And that's to some level of accuracy unique to a particular tower and cell provider. Turn an RF engineer loose on the raw data and they may be able to tease an actual coordinate out of it, perhaps with an even greater margin of error. In the case of a 911 call, one of the very first things the phone will do is send its actual coordinates, which is why lost people are encouraged to call 911.

I don't have any special insight into this case beyond what I've already posted. I will say that from what I've read in the media, there's still something that seems off about it all. There was enough initial searching and air coverage that they should have been quickly found. If this does indeed turn out to be a simple case of lost hikers, then something went grossly wrong with the search effort. I hope it's not the latter.
OtherHand
 
Posts: 202
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 2:07 pm

Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby cynthia23 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:43 am

Well, frankly, that's my impression as well.

I hope somebody, somewhere is going to thoroughly review this tragic case.
Q: How many therapists does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Only one, but the light bulb has to want to change ...
cynthia23
 
Posts: 1204
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 3:33 pm
Location: Rancho Mirage

Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby Ric Capucho » Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:41 am

drndr wrote:Glad there's closure.

I think it might be interesting to know where they thought the cell phone ping was and where they were actually found. How accurate it may have been. Might give some insight to Ewasko. It would be a good read to someday have the details of the find. How close had they ben in previous searches? Etc? I liked reading Otherhand's S&R write ups. I think it shows how easily it can be to miss evidence.



2PM "Lower Covington" Ping: 34.0477, -116.3255 (likely inferred from Cell Tower data)

4PM "Above Quail Springs" Ping: 34.0299, -116.2605 (likely inferred from Cell Tower data)

"Final location" of those poor kids: 34.1017, -116.2211

Obviously, my heart goes out to both sets of parents.

Ric
Last edited by Ric Capucho on Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ric Capucho
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:54 pm

Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby Perry » Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:59 am

Now that the secret is out that some of us have more info than what's been reported in the media, I'll share my opinion. Yes, there should definitely be a review. Looking at the search data, there's something that doesn't make sense. And the news video of the sunglasses says a lot also. But looking at the dates of the data, I doubt that different decisions would have saved lives, only brought closure sooner. If the missing hikers were somewhat near the trails, they would have most likely been rescued. Still, I strongly agree with Cynthia that there needs to be a review.

With regards to the pings, there appears to be a significant amount of error in the radii calculations. No matter where I guess the pinged tower was, I can't get both radii to agree with a realistic walking path for the hikers to travel. If the coroner says there are no signs of foul play, then that would confirm that the pings were useless.
If you need help signing up as a new member, please send an email to Contact @ Mt San Jacinto . info (without the spaces)
Perry
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1271
Joined: Mon May 08, 2006 6:01 pm
Location: The Desert

Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday [7/27

Postby Myth » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:02 pm

If that "final location" coordinate is accurate I am not surprised that the search efforts failed initially.

I think it is easy to armchair quarterback situations like these. If you spend much time out in the field in rough terrain, you very quickly realize what an incredibly difficult task it is to pull of a successful S&R mission within the window for success ( which is very small in the desert in summer ) when the subjects' location isn't even known.

This location looks like it would be well outside of the areas where initial search efforts were concentrated, and I doubt any dog teams were inserted that far away from the initial area. I don't know, but I suspect that the successful search team went in from the north and walked up the larger wash that that small drainage from the final location coordinate leads to. Just happening upon that location while searching from the Maze Loop direction would be unlikely.

Now, I'm sure search efforts could have been done better, and the same terrain were probably examined by multiple teams at different times. Maybe the teams could have spread out more. But lost people often keep moving, so they might move into previous search areas. And so you can't consider those search areas cleared and it is a good idea to cover the same ground at different times.

Now, since I can't resist armchair quarterbacking either - if I have two suggestions to make it would be to a) have search teams branch off and follow minor drainages more carefully. I suspect at least one team went down that large wash just north of this location. In doing so they would have passed within about 500ft from the location. But 500 ft is to the moon and back in rough terrain. And b) once it became known that these young people were fit, and good hikers ( they had hiking equipment in their vehicle according to news reports, and were known to be a "survivalist" and a girl scout respectively ) the search could maybe have quickly been expanded to look further afield, in locations your average tourist may not have travelled to.

If there were sets of tracks found in the backcountry, as suggested by news reports, I feel like the terrain around those tracks should have been combed thoroughly. Finding tracks deep in the backcountry seem like a sure sign that the subjects passed by and may be close by.

For personal experience with overheating and getting dehydrated, you deteriorate pretty quickly. I suspect these kids were out there at ~7:00am, hiking. They took a wrong turn and got lost. They were probably in their final location by the time the search even got started.

Carry your PLBs, people. Always. It is $250 for a ResQLink. Your life is worth more.

PS: I'm very curious about the ping locations. That's made me rethink some of my thoughts about the Bill Ewasko case, and I need to spend some time trying to fit some thing together on maps, and refresh my memory of the case, but I think I have an idea there that I'd like to try out this winter. I promise to leave a genuine planned itinerary with someone and carry my PLB when I do so. :)
Myth
 
Posts: 105
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:05 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Mt. San Jacinto & Santa Rosa Mountains

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 4 guests