Hunters lost, hunters found
Five hunters were reported missing in the area over the weekend, but all were recovered safely. Only one needed medical attention, according to Garfield County Search and Rescue.While missing hunters aren’t uncommon during the season, the number over the weekend was unusual, said Tanny McGinnis, community relations deputy for the Sheriff’s Office.”From my experience, we’ve never had this many in such a short period of time,” McGinnis said. “It wasn’t weather-related, and there was not one common denominator.”The first missing person was reported at 8:03 p.m. on Saturday, when hunter Louis Beres, 64, of West Virginia, did not return to his camp. He was last seen at 3 p.m. on Forest Service Road 603, at Joe Hill in the Clinetop area north of New Castle. A relative reported that his group tried to track Beres, but was unable to locate him.Beres was found more than 10 hours later by Search and Rescue personnel, walking down Clinetop Road. He appeared to be in good condition and not in need of medical treatment.At 11:09 p.m., the Garfield County Communications Center received a second call regarding a missing hunter. Chris Lee, 40, of Finley, Ky., failed to return to his camp at the 18.5 mile marker on Coffee Pot Road north of Glenwood Springs. He was last seen at 4:30 p.m. when the hunters were separated. He reportedly had some food, supplies and adequate clothing.Rescuers began searching the area at midnight and located Lee via radio in the Deep Creek drainage. Due to possible hypothermia and cold weather injuries, he was airlifted via medical helicopter to an undisclosed medical facility.Search and Rescue was called again at 4:03 a.m. on Sunday by a father who said his son, Tracy Floyd, 31, and nephew, Oliver Floyd, 18, had walked down a steep ravine to retrieve an elk they shot and were unable to climb the steep ravine.The group was hunting in the Roan Plateau area, and the father gave rescuers the GPS coordinates and the elevation of their locations.Around 8:30 a.m., both hunters hiked out of the ravine before being reached by search teams. Both were in good condition and did not need medical treatment.The fourth call received by the communications center over the weekend came at 7:18 a.m. on Sunday. A man reported that one of the hunters in his group, Kevin Cole, 37, of Denver, had not been seen since the day before. Cole was hunting in the Uncle Bob Mountain area south of New Castle when he lost his direction and spent the night in the elements.At approximately 9:24 a.m., Cole was contacted walking on East Divide Road in good condition and did not require medical treatment.”We want to stress that people be aware of the areas they are going into,” McGinnis said. “And try not to separate from your group – it’s so much better than when you’re on your own.”McGinnis also emphasized that proper gear and equipment are essential, should you get lost. “Water, warm clothes and matches, matches, matches,” she said.Search and rescue parties over the weekend included the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, Garfield County Search and Rescue, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Mesa County Search and Rescue and Western Eagle County Search and Rescue.”I cannot stress the coordination, professionalism and dedication that was put out there,” McGinnis said. “They worked round-the-clock.”
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