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).
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
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.