Missing Prineville man prompts air, ground search, turns up OK

His Jeep had broken down on McKay Creek Road

PRINEVILLE, Ore. - A 65-year-old Prineville man whose Jeep broke down became lost in the woods north of Prineville on Sunday, prompting a 2-day air and ground search until he turned up at a home in the area, hungry but okay, Crook County sheriff’s deputies said.

The sheriff’s office was dispatched shortly before noon Sunday on a report of a lost person in the area of McKay Creek Road, on private land about 12 miles north of Prineville, said sheriff’s office Emergency Manager Michael Ryan. 

The man, whose name was not released, initially had cellphone contact and said his Jeep had broken down and he did not know his location, Ryan said.

Ryan, a sheriff’s sergeant and 11 Search and Rescue volunteers were sent to the area and searched for the man and his vehicle until about 10 p.m. Sunday, without success.

SAR volunteers returned to the area on Monday to continue the search.  By then, the missing man’s cellphone had lost power and contact was lost.

A Jefferson County pilot, Rob Berg, the Madras Airport manager, flew his plane over the area in a bid to find the man, and Forest Service law enforcement also was looking in the area.

Shortly before 2 p.m. Monday, deputies learned the man had walked to a home on Lofton Creek Road, ad that he was hungry but did not require medical attention.

Ryan said the sheriff’s office wanted to thank their SAR volunteers “for their countless dedication,” as well as other agencies involved, as well as Life Flight of Oregon.

“The Crook County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind people going into the backcountry to always make sure you tell someone where you are going and make sure you are not trespassing on private property,” Ryan wrote in a news release.

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