SAR Photo Gallery


SAR Set 1: SAR in the National Park Service

Most all park rangers and many NPS staff are trained in various aspects of search and rescue (SAR). Getting to an injured person and bringing them back to safety can require any of a number of specialized skills that need to be carried out in very dangerous conditions. The injured or lost person may be in a river, on a vertical cliff, a ski route or a well-maintained trail. Each evacuation requires anywhere from 1 to over 100 people — both on-scene and organizing the operation from an Incident Command Post. The operation can take only an hour or two or can stretch for days. Budgets have forced National Parks to reduce the number of rangers available for any incident. When there’s a SAR, the regular shift must be stripped of all available people to carry it out, leaving day to day coverage dangerously low.

This photo set is a good sample of training and actual SAR incidents rangers and NPS staff perform.

Click on the first photo then, when it comes up, hover the cursor over the photo to bring up the Next or Previous button to view them all.

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SAR Set 2: Rescue on Kings River, Kings Canyon National Park using Tyrolean Traverse

Although it happened many years ago, this set of photos shows a complicated and risky rescue by a group of rangers and others in Kings Canyon National Park (California). In the summer of 1978, a young woman had slipped and fallen from a narrow deer trail on the south side of the Kings River. She was severely injured. Rangers arriving on scene had to figure out the quickest and safest way to get her to definitive medical care. The bridge across the river was several miles downstream and getting a crew with a litter to her, then hauling the litter and her up to a very narrow trail was considered too time-consuming and dangerous. The river was too high to get a raft safely across. It was determined that rigging a Tyrolean traverse, using ropes across the river was the best way to get her to safety and medical care. The entire operation took about 5 hours and more than 15 people from the NPS, US Forest Service and the local telephone company. The victim was transported by ground ambulance to Fresno, CA where she received definitive care and recovered.

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