Citing two incidents that occurred last weekend, El Dorado County Sheriff's search and rescue officials urge people venturing into the back country to carefully prepare and plan for their travels.
On Satruday, Robert Barber of San Diego had gone for a walk in the woods off Kiowa Street in South Lake Tahoe when a fast-moving weather front moved into the Tahoe area, creating blizzard-like conditions. About 2 p.m., Barber became disoriented because of almost zero visibility caused by the heavy snowfall, according to a Sheriff's Department news release.
When he could not find his bearings, Barber called 911. Global positioning system technology was used to narrow down Barber's location, and search and rescue personnel, along with a search and rescue dog, located him about three-quarters of a mile from area residences.
Officials said Barber was cold but in good condition.
About 7:15 p.m. the same day, search and rescue personnel responded to another 911 call, this one regarding three snowmobilers who became lost in the storm. The three men from the Tahoe area began their trip in the Meyers area and planned to return before the approaching storm arrived. But it began snowing heavily before they were able to make it out of the back county.
After numerous failed attempts to find their way home, they used a cell phone to call the wife of one of the men, and she called 911.
Search and rescue volunteers from the El Dorado, Douglas and Alpine county sheriff's offices began searching on foot and with automobiles. Using the global positioning system and the 911 system, search and rescue personnel located the men at 4:45 a.m. and escorted them to safety. The men were reported in good condition.
Sheriff's officials recommend that people going into the back country travel with a buddy, have a plan and make sure someone is aware of it. People are advised to stick with their plan and let others what to do if they fail to return as scheduled. People also are advised to check local weather conditions and forecasts, and to prepare for the unexpected.