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  1. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by AsoloBootsSuk View Post
    Giving the guy the benefit of doubt, starting a thru hike, he'd have the gear, the food etc. He was only missing 1 day, so I'd bet he had a medical issue, which can happen to anyone.
    He placed a call stating he needed help on Friday I believe. This search has been going on for a number of days.
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  2. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by treroach View Post
    Perfect summation, worth repeating again y again: If you're not well prepared, experienced, and physically fit, February really isn't a safe time to start a thru-hike.
    I would put March on that list too. Remember the Blizzard of '93? Happened on March 12-13. What's amazing is how cold the ambient temps can be and how rain continues to fall as rain and not snow.

    Today February 20 IS NOT the time to be stumbling around in the Southeast mountains---Why? Days of cold rain.

  3. #63

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    So sorry to hear about the outcome, but sadly, not surprised. Condolences to his family.

  4. #64
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    For him to get lost like he did (relying on his Garmin) and for as long as he did - in February - was sobering. We feel safe when we can see the trail. When we lose sight of it, panic surges. Mike was able to manage his panic and self-rescu



    i feel lucky to be lost for only one day.............in the snowbird wilderness area.....

    but, i had my gear with me and i still had a steak with me.......

    mike seemingly only does day hikes so he had minimal gear.....

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by treroach View Post
    Sad but true, this is one for the ages, especially if COD is weather/trail-related more than medical. Has anyone ever heard of a case like this with a hiker dying on the Approach Trail, and AFTER successfully contacting family and 911? How was it not possible to get his GPS long/lat from the call and have him stay put? There are numerous unanswered questions of course. And thanks, Nimblewill, for the info
    Well, I'm betting somebody has had a heart attack and died on the Approach Trail at some point. Maybe not a thru-hiker, but that's a lot of elevation gain in a short distance, especially fresh off the couch so to speak. And there are plenty of aspiring thru-hikers who hit the trail with little to no conditioning.

    As to GPS, if he was in terrain and/or weather where his phone couldn't "see" 3 (and preferably 4) GPS satellites, it wouldn't be able to resolve and transmit his location during the 911 call, only the location of the cell tower which could be miles away. And emergency services would have to get a hold of the wireless carrier to get that (tower) info - it isn't automatic as far as I know. 911 GPS locator service isn't universal either. Not every emergency services agency has the latest up to date 911 technology, especially small counties and such - it's expensive technology. Then add that the wireless carriers have to have the tech and service in place as well. FCC has told major wireless carriers that they have until 2021 to provide "dispatchable locations" for 80% of 911 calls. And they will obviously focus on populated areas, not the mountainous forests. If you think you might need high reliability in a rescue signalling device in a remote area, honestly, get a PLB - but keep in mind that even they aren't foolproof.

    And just to add a bit more info, Dawson County budgeted money ($400K+) for a new 911 system. https://bigcanoenews.com/news/news-c...stem-for-e-911 But that was only last year. Whether or not it is up and running I don't know. But from what was reported by both news and the poor guy's brother, it sure seemed like they were doing everything they possibly could to find this guy. It was a pretty bad situation. Not all rescues are successful regardless of good intent or effort expended, and especially so in bad weather in difficult terrain.
    Last edited by 4eyedbuzzard; 02-20-2020 at 19:46.

  6. #66

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    There is also a national effort called First Net that is going to substantially improve emergency services cell service in rural areas. A side benefit will be improved regular cell service. They have a deep checkbook and can put towers in places that normally would not allow them.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 02-20-2020 at 20:22.

  7. #67
    Registered User ATL Backpacker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PennyPincher View Post
    He placed a call stating he needed help on Friday I believe. This search has been going on for a number of days.
    The 911 call he placed was on Sunday, speaking to one of the head cops. He could have been lost, separated from his gear, in bad shape, etc., for a day by that time though. I’d be curious to hear what the police told him during that call - stay put, climb in your tent and bag, etc. it’s been raining so much in Georgia the last several days I’d be shocked if he didn’t get wet rather quickly and succumb to hypothermia shortly thereafter.

  8. #68
    Leonidas
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    Well, I'm betting somebody has had a heart attack and died on the Approach Trail at some point. Maybe not a thru-hiker, but that's a lot of elevation gain in a short distance, especially fresh off the couch so to speak. And there are plenty of aspiring thru-hikers who hit the trail with little to no conditioning.

    As to GPS, if he was in terrain and/or weather where his phone couldn't "see" 3 (and preferably 4) GPS satellites, it wouldn't be able to resolve and transmit his location during the 911 call, only the location of the cell tower which could be miles away. And emergency services would have to get a hold of the wireless carrier to get that (tower) info - it isn't automatic as far as I know. 911 GPS locator service isn't universal either. Not every emergency services agency has the latest up to date 911 technology, especially small counties and such - it's expensive technology. Then add that the wireless carriers have to have the tech and service in place as well. FCC has told major wireless carriers that they have until 2021 to provide "dispatchable locations" for 80% of 911 calls. And they will obviously focus on populated areas, not the mountainous forests. If you think you might need high reliability in a rescue signalling device in a remote area, honestly, get a PLB - but keep in mind that even they aren't foolproof.

    And just to add a bit more info, Dawson County budgeted money ($400K+) for a new 911 system. https://bigcanoenews.com/news/news-c...stem-for-e-911 But that was only last year. Whether or not it is up and running I don't know. But from what was reported by both news and the poor guy's brother, it sure seemed like they were doing everything they possibly could to find this guy. It was a pretty bad situation. Not all rescues are successful regardless of good intent or effort expended, and especially so in bad weather in difficult terrain.
    Someone died last year or the year before of a heart attack at the Springer summit or nearby. They were walking there or back with a loved one who was setting out on the AT from what I recall.
    AT: 471 mi

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  9. #69
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    Default It wasn't bad weather much of this timeframe.

    Quote Originally Posted by ATL Backpacker View Post
    The 911 call he placed was on Sunday, speaking to one of the head cops. He could have been lost, separated from his gear, in bad shape, etc., for a day by that time though. I’d be curious to hear what the police told him during that call - stay put, climb in your tent and bag, etc. it’s been raining so much in Georgia the last several days I’d be shocked if he didn’t get wet rather quickly and succumb to hypothermia shortly thereafter.
    Not that anything will change or there will be any consequences for misleading the public, but the weather wasn't bad much of this time--Amicalola and Nimblewill both have online recorded weather data: https://www.wunderground.com/dashboa...0-02-21/weekly Monday was good weather, when an "fire battalion" spoke with the lost hiker. Was that call recorded--what was he told? (Good weather, if dry...I get hypothermia effects.)

    As noted in my earlier post, there are lots of deficiencies in how 911 calls are handled in rural N Ga, and this area and county have a history. That said, they have very limited rresources (Tax base and revenue, low population). That sate and federal resources weren't called in for quite a wqhile--assuming this was viewed as a serious situation-- is concerning. We neighbors want to believe someone "in government" from some agency knows how to respond appropriately, with dispatch.

    Dawson Sheriff's office facebook page has comments about DCSO's new "$35,000 drone" that was deployed and useful, they claim...yet the fire chief would lead viewers to believe it rained all four days. A FOIA request for drone footage would tell a lot. Another post (news outlet) says the search was called off Tuesday afternoon "due to lightning", well ahead of the night's rains. Very concerning.

    Remeber if you need to search--lost folks usually go downhill (path of least resistance) and along waterways. While the trips and falls risk that Dawson's fire chief references in his TV video can happen, hikers, and presumably SAR members are comfortable with that low risk. Did the "Searchers" have folks loop the AT approach and Len Foote trails as a first step, on Sunday--they day of the call?

    Let's be clear--to a novice, this area is "difficult terrain" as is much of the AT in Georgia. Yet, the current record for traversing the almost 80 miles of AT in Georgia held by an ultra athlete covered the entire Georgia section overnight (Karl Meltzer, 49). Seems carrying radios and lights and water in an area bounded by two trails and a road through it right from the outset would have been prudent. Grids are thorough, but take a lot of time and people. Time may have been of the essence, and if that call said this person needed water, all the more reason to walk from the trail to Cochran Falls, the obvious natural boundary of the search area.

  10. #70

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    Ive been wondering how he got so far away from the actual AT

    I guess he took the trail to the Hike Inn, instead of approach trail, and then got disoriented and wondered off trail that way?

    Ive literally sat at the very intersection (approach trail & Hike Inn trail) and could see how one might go in the wrong direction. But there are signs, very clear signs letting you know which way is which. I dont recall the blazing (if any) on either trail.


    But then how did he get off trail? I guess in those situations where hypothermia is a serious concern, I will never understand unless I experience it myself.


    Its very frustrating that he knew he was in trouble, called 911 but to no avail.

    Ive never carried any kind of PLB but these reoccurring situations and listening to David Paulides makes me reconsider for sure.

    RIP trail brother

  11. #71
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    Sad news. I've been following this since the start. RIP fellow hiker.
    - Trail name: Thumper

  12. #72
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    My condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.
    Last edited by johnacraft; 02-21-2020 at 19:50.

  13. #73

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    I would like to see a factual summary of events, without speculation, of what went wrong.
    In studies of outdoor fatalities, it's never one thing, it's cascading errors, problems, and weather, many factors.
    We need to learn something from this sad event... it can happen to anybody.

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockDoc View Post
    I would like to see a factual summary of events, without speculation, of what went wrong.
    .
    whiteblaze is not the place for that

  15. #75
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    It was posted earlier in this thread that he was found at the bottom of Cochran Falls...although I can't find that reported in the media stories. Anyway, somewhere along the Hike Inn trail, there is a side trail that leads to the top of a (tall) waterfall. Maybe it's Cochran Falls or maybe it's another, it's been many years since I was there. I suppose he could have taken that side trail in error. Very dangerous spot, someone fell to their death at those falls many years ago...I think there is a marker.

  16. #76
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    I would like to see a factual summary of events, without speculation, of what went wrong.



    this can never be done...

    as the only person who truly knows what happened is Mr. Noonkester........

  17. #77
    Registered User John B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    this can never be done...

    as the only person who truly knows what happened is Mr. Noonkester........
    That's not correct. Accident reconstruction is done all the time and in a wide variety of circumstances. Cops do it all the time. Logicians, philosophers, attorneys, statisticians, scientists in all fields are more than able, to name but a few, are able to identify casual agents without being 'in the scene,' so to speak.

    And I think that everyone who has followed this has a very, very good idea what the primary substantive factors are. I know what I would put near the top.

  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by treroach View Post
    Has anyone ever heard of a case like this with a hiker dying on the Approach Trail, and AFTER successfully contacting family and 911?
    cell signal is unreliable in this area due to very few towers. While they did ping his location, in these areas pings are not reliable.

  19. #79

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    Mr. Noonkester SPOKE with 911. Most every phone has longitude/latitude on it. We're not talking pings here, we're talking about a conversation in which dispatcher presumably should have been able to direct Mr. Noonkester to tell them his location. TNhiker is right - there is no possible 'factual summary of events, WITHOUT SPECULATION'. This is not an automobile accident, there are no witnesses, and while we may all have 'primary substantive factors' in mind, it seems that no one commenting here has any real idea of what truly transpired. Why be coy, John B, and not tell us what you would put at the top, because there are way more questions than answers here? Was this medical? Was this weather? Was this a fall? How much did inexperience or poor gear choice/lack of skills contribute to this tragedy? With all due respect to the deceased, this is precisely why WBlaze can be of value. There's much to be learned from any case like this one (even though I can't think of any case truly like this one!) If I were to perish in an accident/situation like this, I would hope lessons could be learned for others to avoid the same tragic fate.

  20. #80

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    When you call 911 your smartphone doesn’t transmit the GPS location, because of outdated technology. The 911 center has to work with the phone company to ping the phone, and get a location, which may not be accurate.

    Here is an article about how it works.

    https://www.wptv.com/news/local-news...m-a-cell-phone

    Apple, and others, is working to correct this problem.

    https://money.cnn.com/2018/06/18/tec...ion/index.html

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