A Good Ending –
Custer County Search and Rescue was activated at approximately 18:30 on Saturday October 18th, for a 13 year old male from the Pueblo area that went missing earlier that morning, during a hunting trip with his father and grandfather. The youth, Clayton Jones, of Avondale, had been last seen in Huerfano County, some two and a half miles west of the Pole Creek Trailhead, located near the Custer/Huerfano County line on Greenhorn Mountain Road, just north of the Greenhorn Wilderness.
Family members and friends had searched for the boy for most of Saturday, before calling officials for assistance at nightfall. First responders included US Forest Service and Wildlife personnel; followed by Custer SAR team members, led by Custer Search and Rescue Captain, Cindy Howard. The overnight search focused on a roughly ten mile square area between Pole Creek TH and West Cisneros TH, west to Huerfano County Road 630; not including additional coverage of roads surrounding the search area.
A second operational period began at daybreak on Sunday, with participating agencies including CCSAR, Fremont and Pueblo County SAR teams, US Forest Service, Wildlife, Custer Sheriff’s Office, Custer Office of Emergency Management and Flight for Life. The teen’s predicament had been posted on Face Book and the ensuing response from civilians wanting to assist, threatened to overwhelm the coordinated search efforts. Any additional search or medical responses in the area could have resulted in potentially negative impacts on the focused search for the teen.
As in all good endings, this young man was found safe and without injury, just before noon on Sunday. He was found just south of CR 634, well north of the primary search area and more than five miles north of the point last known. He had been more than adequately prepared, with additional layers, illumination, fire starter, food and water; and he was knowledgeable in basic survival skills. Temperatures, which dropped overnight into the low 40’s, could have been much lower at the operations base at 11,200 feet. Above average fall temperatures were indeed, a blessing.
All search teams were recalled; and CCSAR was back in service, at base, at 15:00 hours on Sunday afternoon. A mission de-brief was held for team members Tuesday the 21st at the SAR barn.
It is important to remember that search and rescue members are continually training and have the proper equipment and communications needed for a large mission. If you are interested in being able to assist in a future mission, contact your county’s Search and Rescue Team for more information about joining.
Custer County Search and Rescue is looking for a few good folks to help in the many aspects of the organization, including administrative and organizational duties. If you have the time to commit and a serious desire to participate in team activities, browse the “New Members” section of the team website at www.custersar.org and be our guest at an upcoming general membership meeting.