Clever SOS Helps Save Missing Campers

The 19-year-olds failed to return home as expected on Dec. 29
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2022 11:45 AM CST
Their 'SOS' in the Snow Saved Them
A still image of the rescue.   (US Coast Guard)

Two young men went missing during a camping trip in Oregon. That the story didn't end badly is thanks in part to the SOS they fashioned in the snow. Per a Coast Guard press release, the 19-year-olds headed for the Swastika Mountain area about 32 miles east southeast of Eugene on or around Christmas Day. They were slated to come home Dec. 29. Lane County sheriffs began a search after the two were reported missing on New Year's Eve. Heavy snowfall in the area led them to bring in Coast Guard helicopter support. The MH-65 aircrew succeeded in finding them and pulling them out on Jan. 1 (you can watch video of the rescue here), and MH-65 aircraft commander Lt. Maggie Champin says the men "did a lot of things right to give themselves the best chance of being rescued."

"By writing 'SOS' in the snow, staying near their vehicle, and staying near logging roads, we were able to find them relatively quickly," she continued. "We recommend hikers carry personal locator beacons while out in the back country." The release notes the aircrew spotted "two additional persons in distress" during their search, and gave their coordinates to Lane County personnel on the ground. The Oregonian adds one tidbit: that Swastika Mountain's name was a nod to the swastika-shaped brand a local rancher used prior to the symbol becoming appropriated by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. (More rescue stories.)

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