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

General Palm Springs area.

Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby bretpct » Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:35 pm

Here was a somewhat recent incident where a couple (granted they are about twice the age of Nguyen and Orbeso) succumbed to the heat simply by getting stuck in on a 4wd road and trying to walk to find help.

Someone, ostensibly from Orbeso's family, has started a GoFundMe to help with his parents' expenses while they search for their son and Nguyen.

I am just SO curious about this cell phone ping, and how it is processed by the authorities. It sounds similar to the Ewasko Serin tower ping as it puts Orbeso's phone in the park, with no specific position, a la how Ewasko's ping gave a distance from tower but no bearing.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Sean » Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:59 pm

zippetydude wrote:...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?


That's assuming turkey vultures have not already found them, which could have happened even before SAR got the call on day two.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby cynthia23 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:05 pm

Bretpct : I am very curious about the cell phone ping as well. I was hoping OtherHand would educate us a little on that as he seems to know a good deal about pings. Sean: Yes, I too wondered about vultures, animals, etc strewing remains. Zip : I agree, it seems logical they can only have gone a certain distance, even if they traveled in a straight line. (Hey, I never knew someone tried to jump you in PS one night! The 'tried to' sounds like you made a getaway, thank goodness!) Ed: consider yourself an 'honorary' woman :) Your wife is a lucky woman! :wink:

I've been pondering more of OtherHand's thoughts on the meaning of this 'overhead' management group coming in, and it does suggest a simple but horrible solution to this mystery of the 'missing' bodies: perhaps the local SAR effort just wasn't well thought out, maybe even was done poorly, and they missed what they shouldn't have missed. No one doubts everyone in JOSAR worked very, very honorably, toiling like madmen in the heat, but if they weren't looking in the right places, all their noble efforts might have been for naught. If that's true (i.e. there was a management failure to correctly plot the SAR operation) it provides a clear and simple answer, one which doesn't require the missing couple to have crawled into crevices or murder each other or cross roads at night or be kidnapped by aliens. Perhaps instead the couple are there, in some fairly obvious location, after dying a sad and ordinary heat stroke death, and the SAR just, wrongly, didn't look in that spot. I've lived long enough to know that simple human incompetence explains an awful lot of things. :( (If it was so, that is not to denigrate the superhuman efforts of the searchers, most of whom were volunteers.)

We'll find out, I suppose, as this 'overhead' team progresses in its investigation. If it turned out to be a problem with the original search, and a reorganized SAR quickly found the bodies, it would clear up the mystery and relieve the families of the horror of wondering what happened to their children. But it would also raise a new horror--the thought that maybe it didn't have to happen. I'm not a fan of drones, but I'm beginning to think Zip's idea of the army of SAR drones may be the wave of the future.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Cy Kaicener » Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:18 am

A father of one of the missing hikers has joined in the search --
http://www.desertsun.com/story/news/loc ... 558185001/
. Please visit my website at www.hiking4health.com for more information especially the Links.
http://cys-hiking-adventures.blogspot.com
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Sean » Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:48 am

bretpct wrote:Someone, ostensibly from Orbeso's family, has started a GoFundMe to help with his parents' expenses while they search for their son and Nguyen.


Who are Jay Traub and Kirk Vincent?

Edit: Nevermind, I found them listed as friends on the father's FB page.
Last edited by Sean on Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Ed » Sun Aug 13, 2017 8:49 am

I am sure that SAR teams have to make decisions in gray areas, and like everyone else can make mistakes. But I doubt it accounts for the failure to find these missing hikers. My impression is that this search is one where routine methods and decisions would be fine. OtherHand is the expert here, if he sees an indication of some error by SAR, I would buy into it. Otherwise, I don't see it.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby OtherHand » Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:23 am

I am a lot of things, but "expert" ain't one of them. I do (generally) learn from my mistakes, of which I have a copious supply should anyone need some.

Running a SAR operation is a drastically hard thing to do and one which I'd never want. The clock is constantly clicking on the well being of the subjects and you never have the information you want. If you make a mistake, people can die. Fortunately (or not) most SAR efforts are very structured and are run by the book. Yes, there are books and plans and all that sort of stuff. Of course any SAR mission is subject to the skills and abilities of the incident commander, but the action plans guarantee that at a minimum a mission should be effective.

That said, every now and again weirdness happens and the subject(s) will do something totally unexpected and manage to elude the SAR guys. You know that old advice about if you're lost, just find a comfortable place to wait for help? The problems happen when hikers attempt what's called a self-rescue and try and figure their own way out and get completely out of the search area.

Someone asked about the cell ping and there's really not much I can add (again, not an expert). The type of information recorded will vary depending upon the specific cellular provider, and I have no idea which that might be. However there's a LOT of info that can be gleaned from even a partial registration (the technical term for a ping). When a phone connects with a tower there's an electronic handshake that occurs within milliseconds where a lot of data is exchanged which should include power levels and distance. Even if that data isn't fully there, the fact that a phone connects to a specific tower means it must be within the tower's coverage area and a splash map can show what areas of coverage exist. This can rule out areas as well as rule them in.

BTW, I see a couple of hikers died yesterday while hiking Amboy Crater. It appears they succumbed the day of their hike. I think our familiarity with the desert just out our doors makes us forget how quickly it can kill us if we fail to use adequate care. It can be unforgiving of mistakes.....
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Ed » Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:58 am

OtherHand wrote:I am a lot of things, but "expert" ain't one of them.


'Expert' is a relative term, I think we can draft you as our resident expert on desert search here. Below is a link to the Amboy Crater deaths.

http://www.ocregister.com/2017/08/13/mi ... he-desert/
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby Wildhorse » Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:37 pm

I don't think the press release revealed enough information for the public to understand the work of the overhead team. In addition to what otherhand said about the meaning of overhead team, it occurred to me that the expression may partly be derived from the type of cost center (overhead) in the nps budget that employs the team members or bears the costs. The nps press release may have used the bureaucratic term to evade questions that would follow more explicit disclosure. I think we may find out more eventually, but only maybe.
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Re: Young Hikers Missing in Joshua Tree Since Thursday

Postby cynthia23 » Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:05 pm

Very well said, Wildhorse. I hope this is all cleared up, but perhaps we have to accept that it might not be.

Cy and Ed, thank you for those links. I read the Desert Sun article this morning--very, very sad.

Ed, I agree with you--if OtherHand is not an expert on these matters, I'm not sure who is. But we won't challenge his modesty.

How sad about the Amboy hikers. Between that, this JT case, and the poor PCT hiker there's been a lot of grim news this week. My only hope is that people will follow these tragedies in the news and perhaps be a bit more careful out there.
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