Pen lights help in rescue of lost scouts |

Pen lights help in rescue of lost scouts

William Ferchland

A group of eight Girl Scouts and their three adult leaders who became lost Wednesday night near Kirkwood Mountain Resort were found after a helicopter crew with night-vision equipment spotted pen lights two adults carried.

The girls and adults were unharmed when they were found roughly four hours after contacting El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department at 7:57 p.m. Wednesday, Deputy Dennis Miller stated in a press release.

“The scouts had followed their survival training guidelines and had stopped in a safe location, stayed together, (remained) calm and positive and protected themselves from the cold until located,” Miller stated.

The group became lost when they took a wrong turn on a trail while hiking an area near the Two Sentinels Peaks, approximately five miles northwest of the resort, authorities said.

Since the location was near the junction of El Dorado County, Alpine County and Amador County, a few agencies congregated at the area.

Besides the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department and its search and rescue team, personnel with the Alpine County Sheriff’s Department and its search and rescue team responded to the call.

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Five teams, including one with a dog, were deployed. The CALSTAR helicopter crew was later notified and, armed with night-vision equipment, easily spotted the group and their pen lights shortly after taking flight, according to a release by Flight Nurse Bryan Pond.

“The flight crew was able to give GPS coordinates to the ground teams and then direct them in from the air,” Pond stated.

Pond later said there were “pockets of light” from all the search crews and had the teams turn off their flashlights to locate the lost troupe.

The ground teams reached the group at 12:58 a.m. and gave them fresh water, some food and warm coats before escorting them back to the command post at Kirkwood Lake, Miller stated.

The group arrived at 2:30 a.m. “tired but in good physical condition with positive spirits,” Miller wrote.

They later returned to their scout camp.

The night temperature lowered to 36 degrees and the group only had day hiking and swimming clothes, Miller stated.