Search and Rescue finds missing Madera man
Thursday, Aug. 8 — After a night-long search, a missing Madera man was found alive on a hiking trail in the Caribou Wilderness early this morning, Thursday, Aug. 8.
Lassen County Search and Rescue volunteers located Dennis Stearns, 65, on one of the hiking trails in the wilderness area, approximately four miles from where he was last seen by his hiking companions yesterday.
According to a press release from the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office, at about 3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7, Stearns was separated from his two hiking companions after he injured his ankle and fell behind.
After an unsuccessful search for him, the two hikers left the immediate area in search of a cellular connection to contact the sheriff’s office. At approximately 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7, sheriff’s office personnel responded to the area and sheriff’s personnel conducted a preliminary search while attempting to summon additional resources to assist.
At approximately 10:30 p.m. members of the Lassen County Search and Rescue team arrived in the area and spent the entire night searching foot trails in the Caribou Wilderness attempting to find Stearns.
Since the search was in a wilderness area, the press release said motorized vehicle use was limited to the main roadways. Early this morning, the sheriff’s office requested the assistance of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) helicopter to augment the ground search. CHP helicopter H14 responded from Redding to provide air support.
Search and Rescue personnel located Stearns at approximately 8:20 a.m. and escorted him out to the incident command post where he was reunited with his hiking partners.
The sheriff’s office expresses its gratitude to the Lassen County Search and Rescue team and attributes Stearns’ safe return directly to the hard work and commitment of Search and Rescue.
The sheriff’s office also acknowledged appreciation to the CHP for the assistance with a ground unit and aerial support from the H14 helicopter.
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