Two Prineville men, overdue from a trip to see wildlife in the Ochoco National Forest, prompted an overnight air and ground search effort that found them Monday afternoon on a Forest Service road about 20 miles north of town, Crook County sheriff’s deputies said.
Late Sunday, shortly before midnight, Prineville police took a report of an overdue motorist, said sheriff’s Sgt. Travis Jurgens.
Police were told that William Long, 52, and John Harrison, 69, had left town about 9:30 a.m. to look for wildlife in the McKay area of the Ochoco National Forest and told family and friends they planned to return home by 3 p.m., he said.
They were in Long’s silver Ford Ranger pickup truck – and while they did let others know where they were going and when they expected to be back, they did not bring any food or water and were not dressed for the weather, Jurgens said.
Crook County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue was activated and had several volunteers respond to the area. SAR also contacted the Oregon National Guard, which sent a helicopter to help in the search, Jurgens said.
Around 1:20 p.m. on Monday, SAR members found the two men on Forest Service Road 2710, in the Highland Flats area, the sergeant said. They were unhurt and did not require any medical attention.
The men said the pickup they were traveling in had the clutch go out, and they became stranded.
Knowing the general area they were going to “was very important,” Jurgens wrote, as it gave Search and Rescue volunteers a general area to begin searching.”
“However, the sheriff’s office would like to remind everyone that this time of year, travel in the forest can still be very hazardous,” the sergeant said. “Always plan ahead, tell someone the route you are planning on taking and stick to that route. Always remember to bring a cellphone, food, water, clothing and blankets in case you have to spend the night.”