No Stone Being Left Unturned as Search Teams Look for Missing Hiker In Difficult Conditions

Since Wednesday night when authorities learned Canadian hiker, Rick Eastep, had texted for help, teams of experienced searchers have been scouring the area looking for the 33-year-old man who is still missing.

“[W]e have utilized a lot of specialized rescue equipment and specialized search and rescue personnel,” explained Cheryl Antony of Shelter Cove Fire this morning. “Some of the equipment has been helicopters with infrared capabilities, ocean rescue boat, and multiple ATVs. We have had search and rescue dogs available. We have been in contact with the national weather service for updates on tides and weather…We continue to use everything possible to locate this missing person.”

A crew from Shelter Cove Fire has been using their six wheeled ATV to search. [Photo from Shelter Cove Fire taken the first day]

The texts from the missing man had apparently been sent Monday but had been delayed in reaching their intended recipient. But, once the terse messages for help were received, crews immediately kicked into action. On the first night, a Shelter Cove team in their six wheel ATV found an empty backpack later identified as belonging to the missing man and packs of ready to eat meals not far from where his texts indicated he was last located.
 [Photo from Shelter Cove Fire taken the first day]

Searchers gathering at Shelter Cove. [Photo from Shelter Cove Fire]

Yesterday, a dry bag containing his hiking permit was found farther north at Big Flat. Two members of Southern Humboldt County Technical Rescue and a Humboldt County deputy spent the night there and began searching again this morning.
This morning, Aurora and Shawn Studebaker, local business owners, and crew members of Southern Humboldt County Technical Rescue awoke at Big Flat where they spent the night after searching since the first day. They'll be searching again today.

This morning, Aurora and Shawn Studebaker, local business owners, and crew members of Southern Humboldt County Technical Rescue awoke at Big Flat where they spent the night after searching since the first day. They’ll be searching again today. A Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputy is with them.

Most of the searchers are volunteers for these specialized teams. Many spend their spare time training and raising money for the sturdy equipment needed. Some of them have been on the search since the first team headed out to look for Eastep. They’ve camped in the remote locations and hiked the rugged coastline when waves slapped over the trail.

 [Photo from Shelter Cove Fire ]

Shelter Cove Fire’s boat getting ready for the search. [Photo from Shelter Cove Fire ]

“It’s hard to explain how difficult it is to conduct a search and rescue in the lost coast,” stated Diana Totten, Incident Commander in unified command with Shelter Cove Fire and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department. She is also a member of Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue. “We have had high winds, tides, rain and darkness in some of the most rugged coastline in the state,” she pointed out this morning.
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