James Kim’s body found in Rogue River Wilderness.

The comments section has a lot more about this story.

James Kim is not alive. My sincere condolences go out to his wife and children. I know their safety was his top concern and he’d be so glad to know they made it out of the wilderness safely. Based on the best info I have today from a TV interview with the local pilot who found Kati and the kids it was James’ footprints down the road that he left on Saturday that initially alerted the pilot to the approximate location of the car. In my book, that was a heroic walk.I know the condolences, thoughts, and prayers of people all over the world are going out to the family of James Kim.

Kim Family Website

A lot of people are asking me a lot of questions here in the comments section and I’ll try to answer them when I know more. I’ve only had limited contact with some searchers and Scott, who worked very hard on a very noble effort to help coordinate information and many volunteers who were involved in the “unofficial” search. He was a close friend of the Kim’s and I think this must be a very difficult time for everybody closely involved with them. We should all hope to have such sincere and hard working friends, family, and rescue workers in the event of our own personal misfortune.

Oregonlive has a detailed account of the confusion surrounding the search effort.

KGW and Oregon Live have more coverage of the Kim Family story which has now captivated many people all over the world. However as local info comes in I’m alarmed by how it appears some big news places are misreporting important facts. Key story items to clarify 1) James Kim was dead when he was found. MSNBC initially suggested he was left overnight in the woods because searchers could not reach him. This is almost certainly false. 2) It remains unclear exactly when James died. Coroner suggests it was about two days which would have been Sunday night or Monday morning and probably before the ground search began. 3) The pilot that found Kati and Kids was a local resident who owned his own chopper and was not associated with the search directly. He stated on TV that he was very familiar with the area and felt for “the kids”.

Here is a link to a good series of images from another site showing the Rogue River area near Black Bar Lodge where the Kims were finally found but I understand ONLY FIRST IMAGE has correct car location. The initial reports of car location were wrong.

Another image showing the location and James’ walk – thanks Greg.

(I’ve removed an image I had here which did not have correct car location. For many days the correct location of the car and therefore the length of the walk by James Kim was reported incorrectly.)

The comments section has a lot more about this story. A LOT more!

James Kim Update: 11 am Wednesday

Family Website | CNET Updates Page

I’m very sorry to report James Kim was found dead in the Windy Creek area of the Rogue River at about Noon today.

— earlier — 

Path of clues left by James Kim

It now appears the things searchers are finding are clues left by James Kim. I wildly speculate that he was trying to send any searchers from the river side UP towards the car rather than *down* to him, but this is guessing. It is consistent with the idea that he was heading to the Rogue River as the only navigation point he might have understood in that region (he was headed to a lodge downriver and this is a huge river – Kim would have known that if he made it to the Rogue he could pick his way out of the woods eventually – not true if you follow the roads which are a labyrinth of interconnections in that Bear Camp location)

This in from the comments at family site. IKONOS will be retasked to provide high resolution images of search area which will be made available via ftp for analysis. It appears they’ll be releasing it to the public for review around 1-2 pm (based on 11:21 flyover + 98 minutes until download + short preview before they upload to ftp site. They’ll need some mirrors for this as the number of downloads will be huge as people try to review the data. Bad news is that fog was in the area this morning. It’s burned off here in Talent (about 75 miles from search area) but the Rogue River area is deep canyons and may not have been clear.

Just to let you know that our satellite will be imaging about 2000 sq
km over the James Kim search area in south west Oregon (Josephine
County) at 11:22:01 am (Pacific Time) today (Dec 6, 2006). IKONOS will
be moving along a north to south track coming from Canada across
Washington and then over Oregon. It’s traveling at 17,000 mph or about 4
miles per second. The IKONOS satellite has been instructed to image the
search area as it passes over Oregon. The imagery will be recorded in
the memory of the satellite as it continues its travels over the Pacific
and South Pacific, then under the South Pole and up the ‘dark side’ of
the Earth. When IKONOS comes up over the northern polar region the
imagery will be down linked into a 30′ foot in diameter receiving
antennae at our ground station in Fairbanks, Alaska. It takes less than
98 minutes to travel this entire distance. Once the imagery is down
linked into our ground station in Fairbanks, the data is sent over a
high-speed fiber optic line to Denver, Colorado where the imagery will
be processed. Once we check it out for quality and cloud cover, then we
will make it available via ftp site…

Merlin, Oregon:

Brian Anderson, Sheriff. Greg Hastings (Oregon State Police). Mike Winters, Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Office

New Information:
Tuesday searcher Dave Penkava was injured on ATV. His condition is OK after shoulder injury. He’d plunged into a (ravine?).

Wilsonville Chamber believes they did provide a map and highlighted certain routes for the Kims. [ I think Bear Camp route was NOT one of those highlighted!]

Care packages are getting dropped in that Windy Creek Drainage. [ last night a searcher on TV said the forest is so dense they could not be seen when a chopper was directly overhead – though to me this storongly indicates James Kim would have hiked down to the river rather than stay up in the invisible drainage area]

I lost the feed from CNET. Tried KGW’s feed but they are showing the old feed from yesterday’s conference as “live”.

Notes courtesy of Tim in comments:

Also notable from the conference:

1. Cell tower is going up in the area (today?) that should help with search coordination. Edge wireless is setting up the tower and has provided SAR crew with approx 30 phones.

2. Ground teams are in and evaluating entry points.

3. Hopefully the fog doesn’t last so they can get in the air soon.

Kim Search Update 8:30 am Tuesday

Family Website
CNET Updates Page

There is little new to report here in Southern Oregon as the search for James Kim continues in the Rogue River Wilderness in the Big Windy Creek Drainage just south of the Rogue River. Searchers found James’ pants yesterday and now there are reports of finding a backpack and a “mystery object” not yet identified by police who said they wanted the object in hand before speculating. Kati and Kids were found Monday and are healthy and safe. Local news said fresh search teams are in the area.

I understand they’ll do another 10am? news briefing in Merlin this morning (Wednesday).  I’ll try to blog that as soon as I listen to it.

CNET reports that a satellite will be retasked to aid in search. I recommend people post at CNET that they should set up a site to have people volunteer to review the high resolution imagery and post results at a forum online. This could speed up the analysis to a few hours given that millions of people – many with technical expertise – are now following this story online.


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.