Drones help hunt for firefighter missing
in California forest
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[June 21, 2014]
By Madeleine Thomas
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Search and
rescue crews used aerial drones on Friday to help hunt for an off-duty
firefighter who went missing a week ago when he ran off after his dog
while hiking in California's Los Padres National Forest, officials said.
Mike Herdman, 36, was on a camping trip with another off-duty
colleague from the Arcadia Fire Department last Friday when he
chased his Labrador into the woods barefoot, wearing only a T-shirt
Authorities say his dog, Duke, has been spotted by rescuers, and
that four searchers have been hurt in the operation to find him,
including one bitten on the hand by a rattlesnake.
"A lot of support and a lot of resources have been put into this,"
said Captain Don Aguilar, spokesman for the Ventura County Sheriff's
Department. "We have teams within the county and neighboring
counties. We have a network and we work together. A lot of personnel
are committed to this."
The sheriff's department said two unmanned aircraft have been
deployed to search from the air, allowing them to cover more ground
and get a view of hard-to-reach areas.
The other firefighter raised the alarm on Sunday after taking two
days walking out of the forest following Herdman's disappearance
near the Tar Creek Trail, some 10 miles (16 km) north of Fillmore
Arcadia Fire Department spokeswoman Beth Stogner said fresh search
dogs were brought to the area on Friday, but that no new footprints
or other clues had so far been found.
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The volunteer who was bitten by the rattlesnake on Thursday is
expected to make a full recovery, said Sergeant Eric Buschow of the
sheriff's department. "He's in intensive care, but he's stable,"
(Reporting by Madeleine Thomas; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Will
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