Search Update…

Randy searchers galore
by Forrest

 

When pilot Satoshi Mori, flight nurse Erin Johnson, and medic Tom Cremeens heard about Randy being lost, they jumped. Within minutes they were in a Careflight helicopter chopping air and striking west. When they hit the Rio Grande they found Randy’s car. There it was, and the search was on. They flew 17 miles downriver, looking, searching. Nothing! After circling Cochiti Lake they decided to search the river banks upstream.

Then suddenly they spotted the boat that had been pulled hundreds of feet away from the river. It was inverted with its paddles neatly placed. As they landed on a sandbank they saw Leo. Erin tried to coax him in. He had not eaten for eleven days. It was thirty minutes before she was able to hug him. He was thin. Satoshi crumbled a Granola bar, and suddenly Leo and Erin were best buddies.

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Draw a diagonal line from the lower left corner to the upper right corner. In the lower left is Randy’s boat. Leo is the small white spot on the grass, then the helicopter and finally the Rio Grand is in the background. So it looks like Randy pulled everything a good distance away from the river.

Another view of the boat and helicopter

Another view of the boat and helicopter

The area is steep and perhaps Randy climbed up to see if he could find a cell connection

The area is steep and perhaps Randy climbed up to see if he could find a cell connection

Erin making friends with a very hungry Leo

The flight crew searched the area for over an hour by land and then another 30 minutes from the air. When fuel ran low they returned to base and made a comprehensive report to the State Police.

The good news is that there was not much snow on the ground and the boat was far from the river.

At noon today I went to the animal shelter to see Leo. When I walked in Erin was talking on the phone to Linda (Randy’s ex-wife) It was lucky timing for me. Linda wants Leo shipped to her in Orlando. We will make that happen when the time is right. Erin had been with Leo for three hours when I arrived. She is delightfully dedicated to him.

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Erin, Leo and Forrest

The first heroes in this search are Satoshi, Erin, Tom, and Tri-State Careflight, a private company who didn’t hesitate to rush to the call. You have to love all of those guys – and the gal of course. f

ADDENDUM:
KDVR in Denver asked Forrest for a comment on the evolving search for Randy. Forrest wrote the following:

Randy’s boat was found several hundred feet from the river. His little dog Leo was there, but no sign of Randy. The helicopter crew who found the boat searched the surround area for an hour then another 30 minutes from the air. The search and rescue people are out in mass now and volunteers are standing ready to assist the searchers with hot drinks and food. The good news is that there is little snow on the ground along the river. The little dog, Leo is at the animal shelter and is being treated like a king.

I met Randy at a book signing I had here in Santa Fe last September. He is a happy guy with a big smile and a ready wit. I spoke with his ex-wife today and am in touch with his two daughters. We still are hopeful that he will be found safe. The search and rescue guys are out searching all the caves, rock shelters and crannies. f