What would you have done differently?

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by RightHand, Dec 9, 2006.

  1. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    We certainly don't have all the facts in the case of death by hypothermia of James Kim, the man who was seeking help for his stranded family, but considering what we do know, what would you have done differently? What are your thoughts on how this tragedy could have been averted?
  2. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    My first thought when this came out was, why did he leave the car. It's hard to guess at someones reasoning in that situation. He must have felt it was his only choice to save his family.
    I would say that he should have stayed with the vehicle. It is a lot larger and easier to spot. He built a fire out of the spare tire. I would have burned all the tires and lots of green, wet, smoky wood before I gave up and ventured off.
    One of the first rules of survival when your lost is to stay put.
    He had shelter, warmth, melted snow for water. A person can live for 3 weeks without food.
    He had the first 4 of the rule of 3's covered. I think rule 5 was his downfall. He lost hope.

    The Rule of Three's;

    You can live:
    3 minutes without air
    3 hours without shelter (in extreme inclement weather)
    3 days without water
    3 weeks without food
    3 months without hope
  3. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Agree, leaving the car was fatal. Just like on the water, stay with your boat, it is a whole lot easier to see than a head bobbing around. And if ever there was proof positive that a car (or umbrella) is easier to find than a man in the woods, here it is for all to see. He abandoned his resources. I hope they find the "vandals" that cut the lock and prosecute them for manslaughter.:mad:
  4. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I also hope that the cut gate lock gets a lot of publicity. There is always the possibility that someone will remember the consequences of this vandalism and think twice before they do something like that.
  5. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    I would have stayed and Lit a Tamarack or Red Fir tree that was standing and pitch covered the result would have been the nearest ranger station would see the smoke and found me, end of story.
    The part that amazes me is he had a lighter in his pocket.
    I have walked farther in colder temps then he did in this state.
    He should have tured around at the sign of deep snow.
  6. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I wondered this same thing. He died of hypothermia, yet he had a lighter. He had walked ten miles, but was less than a mile from his car when found. Evidently he did not build a temporary shelter of any kind, he did not build a fire to keep him warm and dry when he was away from the car. This is a good lesson for a lot of people. I looked at a flare gun the other day when I was at a Army/Navy store. I might need to go back and pick one up for my BOB. This is another reminder for people to keep a little food and water in their vehicles. Especially during bad weather, and especially when going on a trip.
  7. Blackjack

    Blackjack Monkey+++

    I think I would have probably stayed at the vehicle and started a fire.

    I haven't been watching much about it on tv, what's with the vandalism thing.
  8. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    Blackjack - the road they were on was gated, but someone had cut the lock, allowing for passage.

    They burned magazines, they burned tires. Like Quig said, they should have burned trees. Ranger Rick on firewatch would have spotted them.

    Before that: This may sound a bit harsh. Having gone "exploring" in this part of the country on old logging roads, when you reach a point and can go no further, I've found that Reverse will back me out of a situation pretty quick. Too small a path? Passenger becomes the guide, walking alongside the vehicle with verbal instruction.

    This is certainly a horrible tragedy with many lessons to be learned/conversations to be had about similar scenarios. General concensus is that it's certainly easy for the inexperienced urbanite to get stuck/lost in our dense forests. So many "what if's".

    A sad ending. My prayers go out to the surviving family members.
  9. Blackjack

    Blackjack Monkey+++

    Got it, thanks.

    I'm surprised nobody spotted the smoke from the burning tire.
  10. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I did'nt read the story. But did the guy have a wife in the car?Because that alone might explain why he chose to freeze to death rather than head back to the car.
  11. Blackjack

    Blackjack Monkey+++


    Not just a wife, but kids too...... Mystery Solved!
  12. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    ya, heh. I guess that is rather comical although I did'nt intend it to be. I don't know what that guy was thinking, but I am certain it had something to do with the wife. I don't know too many guys who wear the pants, so to speak. She probably gave him orders to move out...and just like Raymond, he went trodding through the snow.
  13. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Following a hunch, pilot finds Kati Kim

    Friday, December 08, 2006

    GRANTS PASS -- Helicopter pilot John Rachor has spent three decades hiking through and flying over the Rogue River Canyon. He knows its hidden spur roads "better than just about anybody," he said.

    Last weekend, after reading about the Kim family's disappearance, Rachor had a hunch they'd made a common mistake and taken Bear Camp Road as a shortcut. In summer, the narrow road is used by Rogue River rafters to drive back and forth. In winter it's used by hunters, cross-country skiers and Christmas tree seekers.

    Visitors heading west from Galice to Agness get to a fork near the road's summit. Some mistakenly take the right fork into a nest of old logging roads. In 1994, a camper salesman got stuck in the snow in the area; his remains were found the next spring.

    So on Sunday, after Rachor returned from a Christmas tree trip with his grandchildren, he climbed into his four-seat helicopter.

    The fog had just lifted when he left his weekend place in Agness. Rachor, who flies there regularly from his home near Medford, circled the area for about 21/2 hours and finally noticed car tracks. But he was low on fuel and headed back.

    On Monday, Rachor made another 21/2-hour flight. He saw what he thought were footprints and radioed his latitude and longitude to search workers. Low on fuel again, he headed to the Grants Pass airport to gas up. Then he backtracked about five miles from where he first spotted the footprints.

    At 1:45 p.m., Rachor said, he spotted a tiny figure waving an umbrella. It was Kati Kim. Next to the family car "SOS" and "Out of Gas" were stamped in the snow.

    "I was just elated," Rachor said. "I had visions of the car being upside down. She kept pointing up the road as if she was trying to point to the way her husband had gone."

    Rachor alerted the search command post. He hovered about 200 feet over her, trying to reassure her that help was coming.

    Soon, three helicopters hired by the Kim family arrived. One dropped food; another landed and picked up Kati Kim and her daughters.

    Rachor said he's been involved in several search and rescue efforts. Four years ago, he helped lead searchers to children who had run up a trail after a dog and disappeared. They'd survived by spending the night under a tree.

    This time, the outcome was opposite: Rescue workers recovered the body of Kati's husband, James Kim, Wednesday afternoon.

    "I'm really depressed over that," Rachor said. "I held out hope for him all the time."

    The Associated Press contributed to this report

  14. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Kim likely dead 2 days before body found

    Autopsy - Searchers give more details about what may have happened to James Kim after he left his family

    Friday, December 08, 2006

    The San Francisco man who left his stranded family deep in the southwest Oregon woods to seek help died of hypothermia possibly two days before searchers found him, the doctor who conducted the autopsy said Thursday.

    Deputy state medical examiner Dr. James Olson thinks 35-year-old James Kim probably died two days after he left his wife and two young daughters Saturday to find help.

    "But that's only an educated guess, given the conditions and how much exertion he put on his body to get through treacherous conditions," Olson said. "It's possible that we'll never know exactly when he died."

    Olson said Kim's body was "soft and flaccid" when searchers found him face up in 3 feet of water at 12:03 p.m. Wednesday. After the body was brought out of Big Windy Creek, it never went into rigor mortis -- the stiffening that occurs within eight hours of death, Olson said. Rigor mortis dissipates after about 24 hours.

    Olson said it's extremely likely that rigor had set in and disappeared already. Searchers found the fully clothed Kim after an intensive six-day ground and air search that led to the rescue of his wife, Kati, and daughters Penelope, 4, and Sabine, 7 months, two days earlier.

    Before he died, James Kim, already weak from little food and freezing temperatures, hiked five miles up a snow-covered road, then five miles down a treacherously steep canyon that stymied dozens of searchers for two days. In the end, his body was found about a mile from his station wagon, separated from the vehicle by the steep walls of a canyon.

    At a news conference Thursday, search leaders released more details of how the Kims got lost in the rugged Coast Range 30 miles west of Grants Pass, how they got stuck and what they did for nine days in their car.

    The Kims were reported missing Nov. 29 after failing to return home from a Thanksgiving vacation to Seattle. Police said the Kims left a Denny's restaurant in Roseburg about 9 p.m. Nov. 25 for the Tu Tu Tun Lodge near Gold Beach. After missing the exit from Interstate 5 onto Oregon 42, they decided about 10:30 p.m. to take what looked like a direct route on Bear Camp Road.

    Bear Camp Road starts at about 900 feet elevation and climbs to 4,000 feet over the top of the Coast Range to Gold Beach. A rough road even in the summer, in the winter it is clogged with snow, but used by hunters, snowmobilers and others seeking outdoor recreation.

    As their all-wheel-drive 2005 Saab crept along the narrow track, the Kims found the road signs confusing and noticed that some warned of snow and dangerous winter driving conditions. It was snowing, and they stopped several times to move rocks out of the road.

    The couple decided to turn back, but were forced to drive in reverse, with James Kim looking out through an open driver's door and revving the engine to move through the snow.

    Running low on gas and seeking to get to a lower elevation, the couple left Bear Camp Road, turning down a Bureau of Land Management road that normally is closed by a locked gate. Vandals had cut the lock and opened the gate. The Kims drove 15 miles down the road to where it was only raining. At 2 a.m. they stopped for the night.

    The next day, they were confronted by heavy snow and stayed in the car, occasionally running their engine to use the heater. They continued to do the same over the next two days as snow fell. James Kim read to his children every night.

    On Wednesday, the family was out of gas, and started a fire using magazines and driftwood, but the wood was frozen, heavy and hard to gather. The next day, they turned to a spare tire for a fire in the afternoon.

    On Friday, they pried the four tires from their car and, by 11 a.m., had stoked a blaze they hoped would attract attention. They also began stowing wood under their car to try to keep it dry. By afternoon, their fire was out. They heard a helicopter -- area agencies had begun their search for the family.

    Father ventures out

    Saturday morning, the couple switched gears. In studying a map of Oregon, they estimated the town of Galice was located on a river about four miles east of them. James Kim hoped to get to a road with cars on it or follow a river to the town.

    In reality, the Rogue River hamlet was 15 miles away, separated by four other steep creek drainages.

    Saturday morning, James Kim built a fire for the family before saying goodbye at 7:45 a.m., with a promise he would return by 1 p.m. if he didn't find help.

    About 9:30 a.m. Kati Kim heard and saw more helicopters. At 1 p.m. her husband had not returned.

    James Kim backtracked along the BLM road they had traveled a week earlier. After five miles, the road crosses Big Windy Creek. He climbed down into the drainage, dropping a pair of gray pants one-quarter mile from the road, then continued another quarter mile down to the creek.

    He followed the creek east, back in the direction of the family's car. Two miles later, he dropped several more pieces of clothing and bits of his map.

    Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters said deputies who found the clothes believed James may have spent a night there.

    It was 2.5 more miles down the creek before James came to rest in the water, a half-mile short of where the creek tumbles into the Rogue.

    He was found with a backpack and wearing a heavy dark jacket, gray sweater, T-shirt, blue jeans and tennis shoes. He had trekked more than 10 miles on his quest. When he died, he was hardly more than a mile -- in a straight line -- from his family's car.

    Searchers also pointed out Thursday that the car was just a mile away -- via another rugged forest road -- from Black Bar Lodge. Although closed for the winter, the lodge was stocked with leftover supplies from the summer, its owner John James, told The Associated Press.

    "He has no way to know" about the lodge, said Josephine County Undersheriff Brian Anderson. "It's a tragedy."

    Dad "did nothing wrong"

    James Kim was a popular senior editor at CNET Networks Inc. in San Francisco, writing reviews about digital music and audio devices for the technology-themed Web site and a CNET blog about electronics. He also appeared on the company's video segments and on television.

    During Thursday's news conference, Oregon State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings emphasized that the Kims were travelers unfamiliar with the area caught in rapidly changing weather conditions and should not be blamed for that.

    "James Kim did nothing wrong," Hastings said. "He was trying to save his family." Still, he urged drivers to check road conditions by calling special state numbers as they travel.

    Anderson said while the search's ultimate end was saddening, he was glad it came to a resolution.

    "I am happy we found Kati and the kids," Anderson said. "I am happy that we were able to give closure to the family by finding James."

    Elizabeth Suh: elizabethsuh@news.oregonian.com; 503-221-8215. David Austin: davidaustin@news.oregonian.com;503-294-5910

  15. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Photos of Kim's 10 mile trek
    james-kim-path01s. james-kim-path02s. james-kim-path03s.
  16. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Part of the article posted...

    Saturday morning, the couple switched gears. In studying a map of Oregon, they estimated the town of Galice was located on a river about four miles east of them. James Kim hoped to get to a road with cars on it or follow a river to the town.
  17. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    A forest fire would have kept ya warm too.

    Sad the father paid with his life because of his mistakes in trying to save his family, when the resources to save his skin was all around him. Very sad indeed. [angelsad]
  18. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Yes. They failed. Got that part. But what gets me is the way people are all wrapped up in this. With so many thousands of people dying -being murdered all over the world daily...I am amazed at how some guy who can't navigate the roadway dies -(the place where the trees don't grow) dies of hypothermia rather than stay in place and be found. There was no survival skill besides staying warm and providing signal. And how do you think the other millions of Americans will fare when the electricity goes out?I say come what may, prepare for the worst, but this soldier does'nt have the time nor the inclination to mourne the weak and stupid. Too many people think that this crap is entertainment. Interesting. "News". That magic box has the social rats all craving for more. What sick, pathetic creatures people have become.Merry Christmas.
  19. Blackjack

    Blackjack Monkey+++

    Well said.
  20. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Hey Broker
    Welcome Back man, hows things over there going for you ?
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