WINNEMUCCA – Two deer hunters who spent three days and nights stuck in a northern Nevada valley were rescued following a search that included Civil Air Patrol squadrons from Elko and Humboldt counties.
Joe and Kim Hess of Elko were driving in Lovely Valley, on the upper side of Bilk Creek, when their pickup got stuck in the mud on the afternoon of Oct. 30.
The Elko County Composite Squadron was called to assist on Nov. 2, according to Timothy Vaughan, a 2nd Lieutenant and public affairs officer for the Humboldt County Composite Squadron. Elko squadron commander Maj. Diana Jones, in her role as mission planning chief, launched pilot Major Curtis Jones, mission observer Col. Kelly Howard and mission scanner 1st Lt. Teddy Leigh in the squadron’s Cessna 182 to join the search centering in the Nevada Department of Wildlife’s Unit 31 near Orovada.
Meanwhile, information received by the HCSO from the Civil Air Patrol’s national Cell Phone Forensics Team narrowed the search area significantly, Vaughan said. A family member of the Hesses called a civilian commercial pilot, Angelo Root, to assist in the search.
Root, also a resident of Orovada, was familiar with the search area, Vaughan said.
Flying his personal Cessna 140, Root located the missing couple – who were in good shape — about one hour after take-off. As he circled overhead, Root was able to direct Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies to the couples’ aid 45 minutes after his initial sighting.
The Hesses had spent three days and nights without cellphone service, and without seeing any other hunters.
The Elko flight crew was notified of the rescue by CAP radio operators, and safely returned to Elko Regional Airport.