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Discussion: Issue with lost orienteer unfolding in Nova Scotia

in: Orienteering; General

Oct 15, 2017 2:31 AM # 
Oct 15, 2017 2:48 AM # 
Found. From RCMP Facebook page:
Bret Kitchin, who was reported earlier this evening, has been located earlier today and is safe.

The RCMP would like to thank the public for their assistance, shares and retweets on social media.
Oct 15, 2017 4:51 AM # 
It's good to hear that he's been found and safe. Is this the first time in North America in which search and rescue units have needed to be called in for a lost orienteer not found by orienteers searching?
Oct 15, 2017 11:15 AM # 
@JimBaker There was an incident in Ontario in 1972, ironically near a place called Limberlost Lodge, where a youth was lost overnight, took refuge in a cabin and was found by a local person while the orienteers walked a search line calling out 'Larry 1, Larry 2, Larry 3' etc
After that event we started paying a lot more attention to course standards and to who went on what course.
There was an incident in Texas about 5 years ago with another young lad missing overnight.
On the flip side of the coin I know of one incident where a non-orienteer was missing and the local orienteers mobilized amazingly quickly ready for the search when the person was found by an orienteer on his way to join the searchers.
Oct 15, 2017 3:00 PM # 
The OUSA website provides a link to the GAOC Meet Director's Workbook with some helpful suggestions for wrapping up a local meet and ensuring no one is left out in the woods with a broken leg.

But I wonder how many local meet directors do the advance planning and equipping before the meet that is suggested:

....A search party equipment kit should be assembled and placed at the disposal of the Meet Director at the Finish area before the start of the competition. This kit should contain at least the following:
a. Emergency First Aid equipment
b. Flashlights with spare batteries for each searcher
c. Map showing local roads
Oct 15, 2017 9:25 PM # 
In my experience with SAR the last year and a half, orienteers make valuable SAR members. I know two other orienteers in the small SAR unit that I'm in.
Oct 16, 2017 4:06 AM # 
@Jim - how soon you forget!! APOC 2002 Canada. Woman with diminishing mental capacity forgot what she was doing and started walking along a country road. We spent hours searching the map, in swamps and thick bush. SAR found her in about 15 minutes by driving around on the roads. Good lesson
Oct 16, 2017 4:22 AM # 
One of the first (and ongoing) things to try when doing a search is to drive around on the roads. Most of the missing person cases in orienteering that I've been aware of have been solved in this way.
Oct 16, 2017 6:37 AM # 
Indeed,, the roads are important. And SAR teams and police typically have other resources, such as information on the cell phone if any, so including them once an initial search hasn't located the subject(s) is important.
Oct 17, 2017 12:20 AM # 
A number of years, perhaps a decade ago, a youth spent the night in the woods after a Texas meet. In that case, professional SAR failed to locate him before dark because they refused to look where the event organizers were telling them to look (across a road, off the map). Even though dogs led them to the road, the professionals refused to believe that a "lost" person would continue across the road, and refocused their search back on the map. The kid of course, was still trying to complete the course when he crossed the road. Fortunately it was a warm night, and in the morning, the kid saw or heard searchers, and followed them out of the woods.

Agreed with jjcote and Jimbaker - covering the roads and establishing a perimeter is definitely an essential first step.
Oct 17, 2017 1:04 AM # 
We had late participants at a rogaine several years ago where the people in question had somehow crossed a paved road to end up off the map even though the paved roads to the west and south were the map boundaries! From memory we did commence a search in that incident (the event finished at 9pm and I think they were finally returned at around 11pm).
Oct 17, 2017 2:36 AM # 
While driving home from a meet, I spotted a young man walking along the road, and noticed that he was wearing what looked like orienteering clothes and... was carrying a map. I pulled over, rolled down the window and said "Get in". He was 3.5 km from the map, and 200 meters lower in elevation, apparently having somehow gotten through an extensive residential area and across a bridge over a major highway. He was still headed in the wrong direction, and I can't fathom what was going on in his head.

Another time, Nancy was leaving a meet, and spotted a guy walking along the road eating an ice cream cone. On a hunch, she stopped the car and asked, and it turned out he was the one competitor that the meet crew was still waiting for.
Oct 17, 2017 6:32 AM # 
We had an event in a walled estate. The wall was about 5m high and surrounded the map. Yet one guy managed to climb over it and "escape" . He was found some hours later about 5km down the road.
Oct 17, 2017 7:02 AM # 
Was that at Graylands?
Oct 17, 2017 11:04 AM # 
Kilcooley Estate. Graylands sounds like a good venue!
Oct 17, 2017 12:54 PM # 
Pretty good reporting on a local incident here...
Oct 17, 2017 11:38 PM # 
A few years ago, we were leaving an event in Ontario and spotted an orienteer on the road about 5 km from the event site. He knew he was off the map but didn't realize how far off the map, and gladly accepted a ride back to the finish.

This discussion thread is closed.