Two volunteers, one dog and the story of a Palo Alto couple's unlikely rescue | February 28, 2020 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - February 28, 2020

Two volunteers, one dog and the story of a Palo Alto couple's unlikely rescue

'We weren't expecting somebody to yell for help,' said the K9 handler

by Lloyd Lee, Jamey Padojino and Sue Dremann

With "Welcome home" balloons and a "Hip Hip Hooray" banner bedecking their porch, Palo Altans Carol Kiparsky and Ian Irwin are getting a homecoming like no other, courtesy of neighbors who feared they'd never again see their friends alive.

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Editorial Assistant Lloyd Lee can be emailed at [email protected]


27 people like this
Posted by Casey C
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 25, 2020 at 11:31 am

Magnificent effort by the rescuers! So grateful Carol and Ian are alive.

8 people like this
Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 25, 2020 at 12:13 pm

Terrific story and wonderful outcome! One thing: Editors, it's bushwhack.

4 people like this
Posted by Lloyd
a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2020 at 12:16 pm

@Novelera Edited, thank you!

25 people like this
Posted by Blessings
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2020 at 12:21 pm

When we help each other, we accomplish great things.

Thanks to all the folks who never gave up. You are real heroes.

11 people like this
Posted by James
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 25, 2020 at 1:20 pm

I’m happy they were found alive and are going to be ok, but they need to take a huge portion of blame for putting themselves in this awful situation. No cell or water. Starting off on a hike just before dark, in a unfamiliar area.

15 people like this
Posted by Glad
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 25, 2020 at 2:23 pm

The earlier story said they were just stepping out to watch the sunset and got lost, they were not taking a hike. I think it's more a cautionary tale of the need for extra vigilance in urban wildland areas and around AirBnB's.

What a wonderful ending to the efforts of so many. Thanks so all the searchers!

The story says they used drones. I'm wondering -- you know those drone events at stadiums where there are tons of drones working in tandem? I wonder if they could be employed for search and rescue in a way that blankets large areas and sweeps across them, "calling" and listening for responses?

1 person likes this
Posted by Dave
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 26, 2020 at 10:18 pm

Rescues like this are made possible by highly trained unpaid volunteers. You can help support the people that train and handle search dogs by donating to CARDA. This is a donation you can really feel good about!

1 person likes this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 26, 2020 at 11:28 pm

@Glad I'm guessing this is right -- they just popped out to see the sunset, then the forest made it darker than expected -- panic to get back and instead hopelessly lost. It's easy to say "just stay on the trail and overnight it dancing in the cold", but no one would want to do that.

I'm not even sure there's some foolproof way of preventing such accidents. It's not like every time you go outside in the woods you bring survival gear. Maybe wear a compass/whistle thing around your neck from REI day and night.

It's not mentioned, but I'm speculating that one reason they're alive is probably "micro-climates". They were in a drainage to Tomales Bay. The bay is very shallow and so stays fairly warm. That heat rises up the canyon ridges at night. It might have been as much as 10 degrees warmer in the canyon as on the ridge in the night.

The tech solution to search could definitely be arrays of drones each armed with AI cameras, thermal cameras and directional microphones.

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