Miyuki was on a Sierra Club backpacking trip in the Sierra National Forest. They were on a day hike to Horsehead Lake (10,394’) when she became separated from the group. The lake is about 20 miles west of Courtright Reservoir near the Blackcap Basin. This area abuts the western boundary of Kings Canyon National Park. The search was a multiagency effort with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office in command of the search.
She was injured with broken bones and could not walk. She was able to crawl to a water source where she could use a filter but had no food for the nine days she was lost.
The nine-day search ended with searchers hearing her whistle for help. Despite the ongoing smoke problems from the Rough Fire nearby, the CHP helicopter was able to find a path through to land and take her to the hospital in Fresno. The smoke also hindered the insertion of searchers who had to hike in 20 miles to the search area because the helicopters could not fly through the smoke.
I was not a part of this search because of health reasons but applaud my Fresno County SAR teammates for their effort and persistence under difficult circumstances in high altitude, smoke and challenging terrain.
It is always rewarding to hear of someone being found alive after such a long period and searchers will remain optimistic, keeping this experience in mind during future searches. Thanks also to the other agencies who participated. A search of this magnitude for a lost individual under these extreme circumstances, once again, demonstrates the value law enforcement officers and civilian volunteers put on human lives.
Here is a link to the story from the Fresno Bee. http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article32745777.html.