A 71-year old man and his dog Yarrow went hiking Saturday afternoon (Dec. 6) in the Cascade area of Fairfax. When he did not return home after dark, a hasty search was initiated by the Fairfax Police Department and Marin County Open Space.
Marin SAR was called in just after 10 p.m. and began an expansive overnight search in the region. K9s, a USCG helicopter, the Marin County Sheriff’s UAV team and Marin SAR ground teams were deployed throughout the steep trail system.
As of 3 a.m. no material clues had been found, so mutual aid SAR resources were ordered from Sonoma, San Mateo/BAMRU, Contra Costa counties as well as the California Rescue Dog Association (CARDA).
The search re-commenced at 7 a.m., and shortly thereafter the Sheriff’s Department learned the man was able to obtain cell coverage and reach out to a family member. His cell location was traced to a steep, deep drainage in the upper San Anselmo Creek area.
SAR, Fire and ranger teams were dispatched to the area but were hampered by extremely difficult terrain. Ground teams eventually reached the man and Yarrow after climbing their way up the creek drainage. No helicopters were available so plans were made for a long, arduous carry-out either via the creek drainage or through a difficult sidehill path created by county fire crews.
Fortunately, a CALFIRE rescue helicopter became available and the man was airlifted to safety. Yarrow hiked out with the rescue crews, and the man and Yarrow were reunited with their family members at the command post.
The Sheriff’s Department said: “This was a great example of cooperation between numerous agencies including the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, MMWD, Fairfax PD, Open Space District, Marin County Fire, CALFIRE, United States Coast Guard and several regional SAR teams.”