Search and rescue carries out 130 summer missions

EVERETT — When people head out into nature, there’s bound to be some trouble.

As of Saturday, Snohomish County’s search and rescue team had deployed on more than 130 missions so far this year.

They’re still gathering information on several call-outs from over the holiday weekend, sheriff’s spokeswoman Shari Ireton said Wednesday.

Many of the calls are for hikers who get lost or are injured on the trail, data show. Family members report backpackers overdue from a trip. Snowmobilers run out of gas.

The team, including the sheriff’s helicopter crew, also help find people missing in rivers, and older people and children who wander away from home. Some rescues were in neighboring counties.

As of Saturday, sheriff’s employees assigned to the team logged 745 hours on rescue calls. Volunteers logged 4,737 hours.

“There’s no way we could have such a successful search and rescue team without the volunteers,” Ireton said.

In some cases, the sheriff’s helicopter team hoists the people to a safer spot, where a waiting aid car whisks them away to the hospital. The crews also retrieve bodies.

Most of the team’s work is funded by grants, Ireton said.

They opt not to charge people for rescues because rescuers want to get help to those who need it, she said. People in trouble on the trail can get themselves more lost or more injured if they wait to ask for help, and then the situation needs even more rescue resources.

“Family members are already very stressed out when they call us,” sheriff’s Sgt. Danny Wikstrom said. “The last thing I want them to be concerned about is being billed.”

Rikki King: 425-339-3449, rking@heraldnet.com.

Snohomish County Search &Rescue is a private nonprofit that works closely with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. The team is made up of about 300 volunteers and is headquartered at Taylor’s Landing in Snohomish.

More info: www.scvsar.org

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