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Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2006 12:03 pm Post subject: missing snowmobilers found
My heart goes out to the family of the snowmobilers who were lost near Bend. I can't imagine the grief the surviving son is going through, knowing that his father died with him under those circumstances.
And I hate to point fingers at anyone in these circumstances, but I truly wonder how prepared these men were. The weather forecast was horrendous, but if they knew this and still wanted to go -- as "experienced" snowmobilers very familiar with the area, you'd think that they would be well prepared. Common sense would dictate heavy warm clothing, food, warm liquids, spare snowmobile parts, perhaps a sleeping bag -- certainly fire building materials like a lighter or magnesium stick. Maybe even snowshoes, knowing how easy it is to get stuck in the conditions that were present.
I am also perplexed as to why they left their snowmobiles. With the snow as deep as it was and wading through chest-deep snow would only tax their bodies, I think they should have stayed with the vehicles. Gas from the engines could have helped start a fire. The cowlings could have been used to try to build a snow cave for shelter. The rubber track could have been ignited to send up a heavy black smoke.
My heart aches over this. Why couldn't they have been better prepared? Let this be a lesson to us all - accept that the outdoors can be an unforgiving and dangerous place, and prepare for the worst while hoping for the best.
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