Injured Veterinarian Hiking with Dog Airlifted from National Forest
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - SEPTEMBER 21, 2007 - Veterinarian Valerie Caruso loves animals and hiking. She and her Dachshund-mix "Julia" were trekking alone on August 24th north of Long Lake in Plumas National Forest in northern California. Even though she brought drinking water, her dog was overheating in the midday heat. She thought a swim in the lake just off the trail would cool her off.
Caruso, 45, lowered Julia down to the lakeshore and then began her own descent. To her dismay her route down the steep incline sloped away and she became stuck with no choice but to drop more than six feet down. Caruso fell feet-first and landed with such excruciating pain that she knew at once that bones were broken.
As a medical practitioner, Caruso understands how critical response time is in an emergency. Realizing that, she recently purchased an ACR Electronics TerraFix™ 406 GPS Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). She wanted a PLB with built-in GPS. A big worry was the prevalence of rattlesnakes along the trails where she hikes alone.
Caruso assessed her situation as grave and manually activated her beacon at 4:10 p.m. She also blew her whistle and yelled for help. The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall AFB received the SARSAT alert and notified the California Office of Emergency Services (OES). Since the beacon was registered to Caruso, authorities were able to confirm that she was indeed on an outdoors trip. At 4:55 p.m., OES gave Caruso's location to the Plumas County Sheriff's Search and Rescue, and they launched a helicopter to search the area.
When Caruso first heard the helicopter at 5:10 p.m., she said it one of the best sounds she had ever heard. She was in such a narrow spot that the helicopter could not directly lift her out. A rescuer had to repel down, secure her in a reclining basket carrier and signal the chopper to hoist her up. She was then transferred to a Mountain Life Flight helicopter and flown to Washoe Medical Center in Reno, Nevada for treatment.
Today, Caruso is recuperating in a wheelchair on a leave of absence from her veterinarian practice but she's grateful for the "fantastic response. " When contacted at her home in Chico, CA, Caruso said, "I owe you [ACR Electronics] a wonderful favor. I have two broken ankles but, hey, I'm alive and very happy. It's not a good idea to go into the backcountry without a PLB. The beacon is a wonderful thing that saves taxpayers money in the long run. Rescuers are able to go right to you. "
A PLB is a satellite-signaling device of last resort, for use when all other means of self-rescue have been exhausted and where the situation is deemed to be grave and imminent, and the loss of life, limb, eyesight or valuable property will occur without assistance. All beacons must be registered following purchase. Simply go online to www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov.
ACR Electronics, Inc., part of Cobham's Avionics and Surveillance Division, designs and manufactures a complete line of safety and survival products including EPIRBs, PLBs, AIS, SARTs and safety accessories. The quality systems of this facility have been registered by UL to the ISO 9001:2000 Series Standards. Recognized as the world leader in safety and survival technologies, ACR has provided safety equipment to the aviation and marine industries as well as to the military since 1956.
Leslie Sheffield (954) 970-3394 email@example.com
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