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Search & Rescue

Air rescue of stuck rock hound in the Newberry Mountains


January 4, 2020

NEWBERRY SPRINGS, Calif On Tuesday, December 31 at 2:10 pm, Gaven Johansen (age 21 of Claremont) was in the Newberry Mountains searching for rocks and minerals, when he attempted to climb a dry waterfall which was approximately 200 feet tall. Johansen became stuck on the rock face of the waterfall and was unable to move. His father, who was also in the area, called 9-1-1 for help.

San Bernardino County Sheriff Pilot Deputy Jon Roberg and Tactical Flight Officer Deputy Cody Korkotsakis, the crew of 40King4, responded to the area, located Johansen and determined a pick-off hoist rescue would be necessary, due to Johansen's position on the rock face.

Air Rescue 306, with a crew of Pilot Sergeant Daniel Futscher, Crew Chief Deputy Chris Mejia, SBCFD Fire Captain Scott Michaels and SBCFD Firefighter/Paramedic Mike Demoff, responded to the scene to conduct the hoist. Mejia hoisted Michaels approximately 125 feet down to Johansen. Because of Johansen's position on a small ledge, Michaels remained connected to the hoist hook and secured Johansen with a pick-off rescue harness. Before Michaels could secure the optional leg straps on him, Johansen, who was already securely connected to the rescue harness around his waist, slid from the rock. Mejia lifted Michaels and Johansen and moved them to a position were they both could safely stand, then lowered them to the ground.

Once safely on the ground, Michaels placed Johansen fully in an additional rescue harness. Mejia then hoisted Johansen up to the helicopter, followed by Michaels.

Johansen had no injuries and was transported to personnel from the Barstow Station.



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