TEXSAR assisted as requested by Caldwell County OEM for a missing person search near Polonia Road on Tuesday November 12, 2013. The person had gone missing during the October 31, 2013 flood event. DPS divers recovered the vehicle on Monday November 11, 2013. Working with Alamo Area SAR and Chisholm Trail VFD, TEXSAR located and recovered the missing person just before noon. The technical water recovery took two hours to complete and all personnel on scene exhibited strong skills.
TEXSAR is appreciative of the continued support of the Texas Division of Emergency Management and all of our partners.
When severe weather moved through the Central Texas region last week, TEXSAR was called upon to help those in need. For 5 straight days our members answered the calls to help their fellow Texans by conducting swiftwater rescues and participating in search and recovery efforts to help bring closure to families that tragically lost loved ones to the floods.
Notable Callouts Included:
Swiftwater rescue of motorist in Onion Creek flood waters off of I-35 access road.
Support Hays County EOC swiftwater rescue efforts.
Supports Galveston’s Crystal Beach VFD on Bolivar Peninsula during Lonestar Motorocycle Rally weekend of 11/1 – 11/3.
On Friday, November 1, 2013 TEXSAR members participated in multi-agency search and recovery effort along a flooded Onion Creek in Southeast Travis County.
TEXSAR Members at the Onion Creek Search
With crews in the air and on the ground, searchers from TEXSAR, the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, Game Wardens, Travis County Search and Rescue, APD Search and Rescue, and Alamo Area SAR were able to traverse the treacherous flood zone to locate and recover Josefina Rodriguez and her son Jay Rodriguez ¾ of a mile from where their car was found after it was swept from the road.
TEXSAR would like to thank all agencies involved in this effort and extend our deepest sympathies to the Rodriguez family.
On the morning of Saturday, October 5, 2013, TEXSAR received a request from Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), and Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) to assist in the search for Catherine McFarland, who had been missing in Big Bend Ranch State Park since that Wednesday. Along with partners from the Texas State Guard Maritime Regiment (TMAR), Alamo Area Search and Rescue (AASAR), and Travis County Search and Rescue (TCSAR), TEXSAR deployed to the West Texas state park to assist TPWD, the Texas Game Warden’s Search and Rescue Team, the Presidio County Sheriff’s Office, and Texas DPS in the major search operation.
The search was suspended at dark Saturday evening, and at first light on Sunday morning search ground teams from all responding agencies and K-9 assets from AASAR set out to search high probability areas within the massive search area. With scores of trained SAR technicians, the responders had covered much of the park during the morning, and at around noon on Sunday, searchers from TPWD, TEXSAR, and TMAR covering the ridges along the Solitario region of the park heard Catherine call out. All teams quickly converged on her location and were able to attend to her immediate medical needs and call in her location for a helicopter extraction.
This was yet another successful outcome to a very difficult search. Catherine is currently doing well and recovering in an El Paso hospital, thanks to her strong will and great spirits, the invaluable assistance from her husband, Rick, and the response from all agencies involved. It is impossible to say enough about the skills and dedication of our partners from TMAR, AASAR, and TCSAR or the professionalism and competence of the local, state, and federal agencies involved.
TEXSAR deployed two task forces and incident management team members in Galveston County over Labor Day weekend. TEXSAR worked in conjunction with the Galveston County OEM and Sheriff’s Office, Jamaica Beach Fire, Crystal Beach Fire, Galveston Fire, Galveston Beach Patrol and the US Coast Guard. All work hard to provide high quality public safety services. TEXSAR Team members performed search and rescue missions, fire calls, responded to medical and trauma calls, ran beach patrols/ water rescue resources and worked in the incident management team. Thanks to all our Galveston County public safety partners. Strong work by all!
TEXSAR’s Galveston, Dallas and Austin teams are all recruiting. Contact us for more information!
On the morning of August 14th, 2013, at the request of the Bastrop County Sheriff, TEXSAR, Travis County Search & Rescue, and the Texas Department of Public Safety aerial resources conducted a search for Mr. Gary Lowry, a 58-year old missing person in Elgin, Texas.
At the time TEXSAR was dispatched, Mr. Lowry had been missing for approximately 56 hours. TEXSAR began deployment to aid law enforcement resources already in the area within one hour of the initial callout. A DPS helicopter spotted Mr. Lowry’s remains at approximately 1:30 p.m., just one and a half hours after TEXSAR was dispatched. A cause of death has not yet been determined. Foul play is not suspected. TEXSAR ground resources subsequently extracted Mr. Lowry’s remains for return to his family.
TEXSAR would like to thank its field search teams, partners, and law enforcement clients for their efforts to locate Mr. Lowry and return his remains to his family.
On the night of August 3rd and 4th, 2013, at the request of the Georgetown Police Department, TEXSAR conducted a search for Mr. James Hill, a 72-year old missing person in Sun City, Texas.
At the time TEXSAR was dispatched, Mr. Hill had been missing for approximately four hours. TEXSAR, along with its partners at Travis County Search and Rescue, Texas Department of Public Safety, and clients with the Georgetown Police Department, were able to begin deployment within one hour of the initial callout using aerial, K-9, and ground search resources. A search team located Mr. Hill at approximately 12:45 a.m., just four hours after the initial dispatch. Mr. Hill was located immobilized in deep brush with significant injuries. He was transported to a local hospital and has since been successfully reunited with his family.
TEXSAR would like to thank its field search teams, partners, and incredible law enforcement clients in this successful and quick resolution to a missing persons case.
From July 3rd to July 7th, TEXSAR and TMAR deployed to Galveston County to assist with Operation Safe and Sound from for the holiday weekend. Personnel from both groups were integrated into the operation in support roles as force multipliers for emergency responders in Jamaica Beach, San Luis Pass, and Crystal Beach as well as working in positions with the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management and the Sheriff’s Office.
In addition to assuming roles within the Incident Management Team for the operation, over five days TEXSAR and TMAR members worked with multiple departments throughout the county to battle brush fires, coordinate and perform searches for missing children, work bay and beach patrol, respond to EMS and law enforcement calls, respond to threatening weather events, and conduct Search and Rescue operations offshore. At one point, personnel from both teams were requested to respond to another incident within the county but outside of the operation. The teams met up with members from Alpha SAR (a K-9 team and TEXSAR partner out of Houston) to assist with a search in Texas City.
Operation Safe and Sound was an extremely productive deployment, and the teams had the opportunity to work with incredible first responders and emergency management personnel throughout the county. Thank you to all of our friends and partners in Galveston County for your support and hospitality.
TEXSAR is proud to announce that twelve of our members recently completed Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced SAR Tracking classes taught by world-renowned tracker and trainer Fernando Moreira of Professional Trackers. These courses, subsidized and scheduled by TEXSAR and TMAR, included close to 40 participants from TEXSAR, Austin Police SAR, Travis County Search & Rescue, and TMAR. The 9 days of training consisted of classroom and field work designed to teach the fundamental skills of tracking including:
General tracker awareness – use of all senses
Tracking terminology and team roles
Identifying types of sign
Guidelines for recording tracking hours in a log book
Measuring and documenting the track
Tracking on various terrains and ground covers
Backtracking for clues
TEXSAR would like to thank Fernando for bringing these courses to Austin and sharing his amazing expertise with our team!
On May 29 & May 30 TEXSAR participated in a full-scale hurricane response exercise to test and evaluated Galveston County’s emergency response resources. As part of this exercise, TEXSAR’s Search and Rescue Team, along with their partners from the Texas State Guard Maritime Regiment (TMAR), participated in mock search & rescue operations around the county. Among these drills were exercises on Bolivar Peninsula where TEXSAR will be deployed during an actual Hurricane event.
Galveston EOC during Operation Storm Ready
While the TEXSAR Search and Rescue Team conducted its exercises in the field, the TEXSAR Incident Management team worked diligently alongside the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) in the Emergency Operations Center. Here again TEXSAR was tested and evaluated as it worked seamlessly with the rest of the County’s emergency response resources.
The overall feedback TEXSAR received was overwhelmingly positive with praise from the OEM. “We at Galveston County OEM are elated to have TEXSAR as a member of our response team. Your response with your associates was well beyond our expectations.”
Among the participating organization for “Operation Storm Ready” were: The Galveston County Office of Emergency Management, Galveston County Sheriff’s Office, Galveston County Health District, Galveston County Parks Department, Galveston County CERT, and TEXSAR.