Holbrook, AZ: On February 2, 2019 around 1056 hours, Navajo County Sheriff’s Office Dispatched received a call from a female reporting her father, Patrick Riddle Lost/Missing.
Information received from Mrs. Riddle was that Patrick had left to go to Show Low around 1500 hours on February 1, 2019 to get fuel. He was then going to go up on the forest road 300 and then home.
At about 1900 hours, Mrs. Riddle received a call from Patrick stating his vehicle had broken down and he did not know where he was. She also stated he is a diabetic and should have his insulin with him.
At about 1230 hours, Deputies started searching the area between Show Low to Heber to attempt to locate Patrick. The Navajo County Airplane was utilized as well to search the area. At about 1600 hours, Search and Rescue personnel were contacted to assist with the search. Approximately 15 search and rescue members and Navajo County Sheriff’s Deputies continued to check all the forest service roads.
At 1808 hours, a NCSO Sergeant advised he had located Patrick inside his vehicle. Patrick was in somewhat of a medical emergency and was unable to communicate with him. Patrick was loaded in the Sergeants vehicle and he was driven out to Forest Road 136 to meet with the ambulance. Patrick was turned over to Timber Mesa Fire and Medical and transported to Summit Hospital.
The Navajo County Sheriff’s Office would like to offer the following tips if you find yourself stranded in the woods.
• Signal for Help.
• In this case the subject’s truck was covered so heavily in mud that it was difficult to detect it from the air. Remember to use your hazard lights which would have tremendously assisted with our spotters in the airplane.
• Build a Fire (only if you can do it safely without starting a massive forest fire)
• Carry Hunter Orange clothing items with you. It is much easier to spot these colors from both the ground and air.
• Find Shelter, close to your stranded vehicle.
• Stay Warm
• Stay Put
Though you may want to find your own way out, stay where you are. The more you move, the more challenging it becomes for someone to locate you. Before you leave, tell someone exactly where you are going and how long you plan on being there. This way if you do not return at a specific time, people will grow alarmed and begin a search.
Obviously being lost in the wilderness is not anyone’s plan, but it can happen. Being prepared is the best way to ensure you come out alive and healthy. Before any trip, it is crucial to make sure you have packed correctly and told someone your itinerary, even if you are traveling with people. And remember – try to stay on marked trails or at the very least, set up your own markers if you plan on venturing off the path.