PASCO, WA - Dispatch received a call from Michael Hayden of Pasco, Washington stating his wife and stepson had become lost while mushroom hunting near the Lincton Mountain Road.
Hayden stated that his wife Theresa, 56, and his stepson Christopher Bell, 35, had left their vehicle at about 2: 30 p.m. and began hiking out to a favorite mushroom picking area above Couse Creek. When they had not returned by late afternoon Hayden had become concerned and began driving the road attempting contact using a two-way radio on an emergency flashlight. He was able to establish contact with his wife who told him that she and Christopher had become disoriented in a steep and rugged area of the drainage and did not know where they were or how to get out. Hayden called the Umatilla Sheriff’s Office and requested assistance.
Search and rescue team arrived and began the search about 9:30 p.m. Around 11:00 p.m. Theresa Hayden and Bell contacted SAR, using their two-way radio, saying that they could see the searcher’s lights.
The SAR team made their way down a steep and brushy slope and located Hayden and Bell, about four miles northwest of the Tollgate Chalet. They made it back to Lincton Road about 1:30 a.m. Both individuals were uninjured and after being reunited, left for their home in Pasco, Washington.
Sgt. Dwight Johnson, Incident Commander for the mission, said “Tonight we had a successful outcome to an incident with serious potential. This was entirely due to the efforts of our volunteer search personnel, who performed flawlessly and displayed fantastic teamwork. I want to especially commend our ground teams, who worked under dangerous conditions in steep terrain to bring these folks out to safety”.
Sheriff Terry Rowan said “Umatilla County can be very proud of their volunteer Search and Rescue Unit. Their professionalism and dedication were on display for everyone to see on this mission. We are very thankful that nobody was injured and that a trekking pole was the only casualty during this mission.”
Umatilla County Search and Rescue would like to thank the following for responding to this incident:
Bob and Dottie Carrell, Robert Dewayne, Josh English, Tom Phelan, Mat Williams, Bill Morris, Lacey Wilson and her K9, and Walla Walla SAR member Daniel Androes.