Nevada Aircrew Guides Searchers to Missing Man
Capt. Mark Silver
Public Affairs Officer
Reno Composite Squadron
A Nevada Wing aircrew located an elderly man missing in rugged terrain without his cellphone or the insulin needed for his diabetes.
The man, a rock collector, was reported missing June 11. After the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center notified the wing, a Douglas Composite Squadron aircrew flew over dirt roads leading into mountains in northern Nevada, hoping to spot his vehicle.
That search yielded no results. Two aircrews from the Reno Composite Squadron conducted a more intensive search the next morning, focusing on two regions near Hawthorne – north and east of the town, an area dotted with old mining sites, and also south, in a rugged mountainous area laced with dirt roads. The Reno squadron pilots flew search patterns as the terrain allowed.
About 2½ hours into flying the search grids, the aircrew searching the southern area spotted a van matching the description of the missing man’s vehicle, its hood and tailgate up and an individual active at the site.
The aircrew notified Mineral County Search & Rescue, then continued flying overhead until rescuers arrived.