Franklin County Dispatch Center received a 9-1-1 call from a 22-year old male on Monday night about 7:20. He reported that he and his 19-year female companion were disoriented on the East Loop Trail between Shores Lake and White Rock Mountain. The male was able to use his cell phone to give the Dispatch Center his map coordinates. After plotting the coordinates, the pair were instructed to walk north on the trail so they would come out at White Rock Mountain Road. Since heavy rain was anticipated in the area, messages were sent to the couple to stay out of the Salt Fork Creek bed.
Two Franklin County Deputies including Incident Commander Travis Ball were dispatched to the scene and upon arrival on White Rock Mountain Road and the East Fork Trail intersection activated their siren. The hikers heard the siren and began to walk out. In a short amount of time, the pair called back to say they were near exhaustion due to the heavy rains and having to work their way through debris on the trail.
At that time, two Franklin County SAR team members who had just arrived started down the trail to meet them. After about 20 minutes, the search team made physical contact with the lost hikers and led them back to the road. The couple was uninjured and was returned to their vehicle at the White Rock Mountain Campgrounds.
OEM SAR Team Leader, Dave Sutter said, “This incident was a great example of inter-agency cooperation to locate lost persons in challenging weather conditions. The Sheriff’s Department, Dispatch Center, and OEM volunteers did a really profession job.” Fred Mullen, OEM Coordinator, noted the especially useful contributions of OEM Volunteer Rick Covert, Deputy Coordinator for Severe Weather, for his effort to keep the search task force informed of the changing weather situation. Seven SAR Team members were activated for the mission.