Cell phones have played a key role in numerous successful searches and rescues in Central Oregon in recent years, but one happy ending Friday had a new twist: Two missing Prineville 18-year-olds, overdue from a hike up South Sister, used a phones text message capability to advise they were alright and their location.
A Deschutes County Sheriffs Search and Rescue horse team located Cody D. Brockett and John Dunaway around 9:30 a.m. in the area of Obsidian Falls, west of the Pacific Crest Trail, said sheriffs Sgt. Dan Swearingen. That ended a search which began Thursday afternoon and involved nearly two dozen people.
Sheriffs Search and Rescue and Forest Service law enforcement and other personnel responded around 4 p.m. Thursday to the report of two overdue hikers in the South Sisters area, Swearingen said.
Authorities learned that five hikers had been en route to the summit of the 10,358-foot peak on Thursday when three decided to turn around due to the deteriorating weather conditions, Swearingen said. Two continued on to the summit and, after starting down, apparently lost the trail and became disoriented.
Around 6 a.m., family members informed the searchers that the pair had been able to text message them by cell phone around 4:45 a.m. that they were alive and at Foley Junction, and to send help, Swearingen said. Further messages indicated they had located other hikers and were heading north toward Frog Camp/Obsidian Trailhead, off Highway 242 (the McKenzie Pass Highway).