Home  |  This Week  |  Subscribe  |  Classified Ads  |  About Us  |  Contact
6/13/2013 Search and Rescue exercise turns real with downed plane

A practice exercise by members of Custer County Search and Rescue this past Saturday turned into a real-life scenario when a small plane crashed on Medano Pass leading to the Great Sand Dunes National Park.

A 69-year-old Monte Vista man, Richard Cutter, died when his plane went down Saturday morning. Two other occupants of the plane survived.

Members of Search and Rescue had gathered early Saturday morning for an aviation beacon training exercise performed by two Civil Air Patrol members from the Denver area.

After about three hours of classroom training, participants went into the field to find a pre-set locator beacon that had been fixed at Bear Basin Ranch, 11 miles east of town.

A few minutes into the exercise, CCSAR received information that the plane had gone down in the Medano Pass area of Saguache County. Sixteen local members responded, but soon after stood down when officials from Saguache and Alamosa counties took charge of the mission.

As the local volunteers returned to their training exercise, word was received of a lost hiker in the Marble Mountain area. The individual had good cell phone service, and it was determined that he was bushwhacking in an easterly direction. After about three hours the hiker reached the Rainbow Trail.

CCSAR captain Bob Pruiksma said, “The day was a complete success with a tremendous team training workout, a team ready to assist another county that had an actual downed aircraft, and being able to help a lost hiker.”

Search and Rescue reminds all hikers to carry ten essentials when heading into the back country: a map, compass or GPS, a multifunction knife, matches, fire starter, a personal first aid kid, a flashlight or headlamp, sunglasses and sunscreen, extra clothing and food and water.