Press Release: Feb05 2023

Press Release: Feb05 2023

200 W. First Street #516
P.O. Box 488
Roswell, NM 88202

Multi Agency Search & Rescue training successfully locates subject.

Chaves County, Bottomless State Park

A multi-agency event ended late Sunday evening, when a Trans Aero Medevac helicopter took off from Bottomless Lakes Road in the Bottomless State Park area. It carried an unconscious patient who suffered a broken arm and a possible c-spine injury after falling into a crevasse Saturday night. Fortunately, the patient was a rescue mannequin called “Andy” and the whole event was a training, organized by the local Pecos Valley Public Services Search & Rescue volunteers. The training was supported by the Roswell Disaster Relief Services who provided rehab and even free pizza.

Incidents in New Mexico are coordinated by the New Mexico State Police Division. The primary resources for these incidents are volunteers. In the 30 years since the search and rescue law was established, these volunteers have been activated thousands of times. Search & Rescue missions include overdue aircraft, lost hunters, lost children, drowning accidents, missing climbers, hikers, skiers, fishermen, and other users of our great New Mexico outdoors.

Search & Rescue volunteers are members of an organization like Pecos Valley Public Services. These organizations provide the general and specialized training required and are tasked with maintaining a high degree of readiness to be able to execute missions at any time. The organizations are also expected to make available all of the equipment required to conduct missions. Since there is no governmental funding, Search & Rescue organizations rely on public support and donations.

For the training mission, volunteers from Alamogordo and Ruidoso teamed up with the 10 searchers from Roswell. They formed three teams and went out to search every nook and cranny in a 5 Mile radius trying to find the unfortunate subject. Drones whirred in the air, it’s optical and thermal sensors directed at those areas that were too far away or too difficult to reach by foot.

“It’s a $7,000 piece of equipment” explained Michaela Merz. CO of Pecos Valley and FAA certified drone pilot. “Which is a lot of money for a public charity like us. So we have to fly it really carefully”.

But what makes folks like Connie, who owns her own insurance business, or Josh, who works night security at a local ranch, or maybe Rudy who is a software developer, to donate all that time and money for training, equipment and missions?

“I just like to help” says Connie.

And it was Connie who rushed out when the drone detected a possible target about 300 yards from the base camp. She and her team mate “Squirrel” confirmed it was “Andy” who rested 12 feet at the bottom of a deep rift. A qualified Search and Rescue medical team was called in and first aid was provided fast and professionally just minutes later. “Andy” was then strapped on a stretcher and carefully lifted to the surface. Search command had already alerted an evacuation and “Andy” was placed into the helicopter just about 20 minutes after he was located. If “Andy” would have been a real person, the team would have saved his life. One of the hundreds of people who also owe their lives to Search & Rescue volunteers all over the State of New Mexico. A job well done.


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