James Kim search continues. Tuesday 11:00 pm update

Family and Friends Website

Cnet update

latest updates from this blog 

11pm local news reports James is still missing with search scaled down for the night though I understand thermal equipped helicopter is flying the area.

I think the 5 mile search area assumes James got stuck following the Big Windy Creek drainage down to the river. I don’t know why they assume he did not make it to the River and out from there but I’m unfamiliar with that specific area’s terrain which may be so steep he could not have made it out and up or downriver from Big Windy.
Darkness has fallen here in Southern Oregon and James Kim is still missing in the Rogue River Wilderness west of Merlin and Galice, Oregon. Approximately 100 searchers combed the drainage of Big Windy Creek Area today. A pair of pants was found near the creek. Reports say he had taken an extra pair of pants and may have left these as a sign. Another object was sited but police won’t identify it until they have it in hand.

Police indicated they did not know why he walked into the drainage and seemed confused about this but I’d suggest clearly he was looking for Rogue River which would for James be the only key navigation feature in the area. I certainly hope they search the Rogue River banks carefully, especially downriver at least to Half Moon Bar Lodge (closed but caretakers there and he would not have likely passed this point).

Map of the Wild Section of the Rogue River

Google Map of the Rogue River Area where James Kim is expected to be.

Flash Alerts from Oregon State Police – note photo links at bottom of post

This helicopter report from KGW news:

05:50 PM PST on Tuesday, December 5, 2006

By FRANK MUNGEAM, kgw.com Staff A helicopter with the Oregon Army National Guard was scheduled to continue searching Tuesday night for James Kim, missing since Thanksgiving weekend in Southern Oregon.

An OH-58 Kiowa helicopter equipped with the Forward Looking Infrared System planned to scour the mountainous area overnight.

A second aircraft, a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, was en route to its standby location at the Medford Airport, according to ONG spokesperson Kay Fristad. The Blackhawk is a medevac helicopter used for rescue operations and is equipped with a crew that includes flight medics, crew chief and two pilots. According to Fristad, the team is highly skilled in hoist operations, patient stabilization, and transport.

Crews are camped out waiting for daybreak.

My current thinking is that it’s very important to search the south bank of the river all the way down to Half Moon Bar Lodge. It seems logical to me that he would have followed the river downriver, knowing it would eventually lead to safety. In fact the original Gold Beach destination of the Kims was TuTuTun Lodge which is right on the Rogue river (though many days from Windy Creek, but James would not have known how far upriver he was).

I called the Half Moon Bar Lodge folks a few hours ago and learned that they are closed but there are caretakers there, so if James made it that far we’d have heard. Paradise lodge is on the other side of the river. A bad scenario is that he saw that lodge and tried to cross over the river which would be very dangerous. This is a wilderness area and there are no residences or even shelters that I know of between Black Bar Lodge (near Windy Creek but which presumably he missed) and Half Moon Bar, a distance of about 20 miles by river.

James Kim Update as of 3:30 pm Tuesday.

Family and Friends Website

I’m reviewing news items now. James Kim is still missing and I understand they think he’s still in the Big Windy Creek Drainage area near Horseshoe Bend / Black Bar of the Rogue River in the Rogue River Wilderness area west of Galice, Oregon.

Reports here at KGW Northwest news and here at Medford Mail Tribune say searchers found a pair of James’ pants today and continue to track him, thinking he’s probably within 5 miles of where he left the car and family on Saturday morning to find help.

I’m confused at why searchers think he did not make it farther than five miles. Logically if he got to the Rogue River he might have continued along the south bank, knowing that the coast was 2-3 days of (difficult) hiking downriver and would have kept as fast a pace as possible to stay warm. He told Kati he’d return to the car but may have changed that plan realizing that if he’d be maximizing the chance of finding them by trying to hike out of the woods. Riskier for him but giving two chances to be found rather than just one.

There’s a trail on the north bank of the River but not the south bank, and hopefully he would not have tried to cross or run the river using a makeshift raft since there are several dangerous rapids downriver from here.

If James has made it farther than they think, and did stay on the So bank of the River to navigate, he’d probably see the Paradise Lodge which is down near Blossom Bar Rapids on the other side of the River but clearly visible from the south bank. A few miles (I think) down from there on the south bank is Half Moon Bar lodge. With no word yet I’m calling these lodges now to make sure they are fully aware of the situation.

James Kim still missing as of 10 am Tuesday Morning

Kim Family Website is here

With Kati Kim and Children safe at a Grants Pass hospital the search has intensified for James Kim who is likely located in the Windy Creek Drainage south of the Rogue River in Southern Oregon. He left the Kim Family car on Saturday – some reports say he was wearing snowshoes – at 7:45am seeking help and was to return that day, but did not return. It’s reported that he was warmly dressed and had a lighter. Trackers followed his steps two miles from the car where he headed into the Windy Creek Drainage, a large area south of the Rogue River’s “Horseshoe Bend”. These areas up around the Rogue generally make for slow hiking so we can hope that James will be able to be tracked more easily.

The temperatures up there have been about 20s at night and 40’s in the daytime I think, though the news reported last night that the temps vary with elevation and actually it would be warmer up on the ridges in that area than in the valleys.

Tracking dogs and a National Guard heat seeking helicopter should be on the scene by now.

From the family website this morning:
12/5/06 – 7:30am
– We’re up and hoping for good news, anxiously awaiting the success of the search and rescue team. I was able to speak with Kati briefly last night and she is in good spirits, worried and waiting, but joking with me in only the way that Kati can. The girls are in great shape. The Kim and Fleming’s primary concern now is to reunite the family. Kati’s mother, father and brother should be travelling to Oregon today to be with the family. I spoke off camera with one of the interviewers yesterday and we talked about how easy it is sometimes to be cynical in life, but how something like this really shows the true heart of people everywhere. There were so many times these few days where emails from people out there have had us crying and tearing up because of the sheer amount of love expressed – in many cases for a family they don’t even know. It has really kept us going and *IS* keeping us going. Thank you again for all of the support and to all of the people up in Oregon finding James right now.

12/4/06 – 11:30pm – Photos from our volunteer Becky Worley earlier today. Search HelicopterSearch and Rescue preparing for night searching.

KGW Report