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Old 06-08-2010, 13:58   #61
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Location: Anchorage, Alaska
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Originally Posted by Healer52 View Post
Was that the rescue where the AF Reserve Rescue Helo crashed into the mountain?
But there you go. The cost of that rescue effort included career-ending injuries to the crew, the replacement of a $15 million or so helo, and it's removal from the mountain.
That is another good example, but I was thinking of the 2006 SAR on Mt Hood when the 3 guys got lost on a winter attemp. Air Force PJ's along with volunteer Mt Rescue guys recovered one body. The other two are still missing. Most people don't realize that outside of the big parks, Mountain Rescue in the western US is largely handled by volunteer groups and County Sheriff's departments. (In Alaska we don't have counties, so it's volunteers and the State Troopers.) This can put a huge burden on local resources. I don't remember the exact numbers, but that one search cost Hood River County many times their annual SAR budget in overtime for Sheriff personel etc. That doesn't even include all the costs to volunteer folks.

To me a big problem is always the public uproar after these things. There are always calls for more rules, restrictions, etc. I think one of the things that attract many of us to the sea (and mountains) is the sense of freedom we get. Big, high profile rescues, especially when the people being recued appear to have done something really dumb, will have repercussions for all of us. I don't know what the complete answer to all this is, but a few things that might help come to mind:

Some sort of rescue fund, perhaps part of vessel registration/documentation fees (state or federal) to help cover costs might be in order. This is already being done to some extent in the mountaineering world.

Healer pointed out the usefulness of education. If you belong to a yacht club, push to get presentations by coast guard or whomever about how to stay out of trouble. If you are very experienced, perhaps you can give presentations based on your own experiences. If you see somebody being dumb, gently try to educate them (not always easy, I know).

Participate to the extent you are able in volunteer rescue organizations. Here in Alaska, the Coast Guard is spread very thin over a vast area. In Prince William Sound, the Coast Guard Auxillary now provides a good share of the actual on scene rescue service (the Coast Guard has given them some highly capable boats). I'm getting a bit old to charge up mountains, but I still participate to the extent that I'm able in a volunteer wilderness SAR group.

Finally, try to make sure you don't become the target of a rescue. Learn how to be self sufficient. There is a fine line between doing a challenging trip, and being stupid. Have fun but try to stay on the correct side of that line.

Alaska: We're here, because we're not all there!
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Old 29-09-2010, 10:12   #62
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I Agree rescue should be a reciprocal charity between foreign governments.

I don't say charity lightly. Nobody is under any obligation to help you.

User fees, taxes, forced insurance exacerbate this issue. You are FORCING someone to pay for something that MAY happen that YOU have no obligation to provide!!

"We can't just sit there and let them drown!" That is your moral decision, don't force it on others.

As for your home country, if they are going to charge for a rescue, they should charge directly those who required rescue, for those costs above their normal operating costs.

Joe Simmons is offline   Reply With Quote


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