Search and Rescue Teams Find Missing Orcas Island Man Alive

Photo: Orcas Island Fire and Rescue

Island County, WA– Search and Rescue Teams from around the region, including Skagit County Search and Rescue, responded to Orcas Island on Monday, December 30th, 2019,  to help search for a missing 67-year old man who had went missing from his house and could not be located.

According to a representative from Orcas Island Fire and Rescue, a 67-year old Orcas Island Man had wandered away from his house just before he was to go out with his wife for their routine afternoon walk at 3:30 p.m.  wearing a blue fleece jacket and vest for the walk,  which was helpful in identifying his location on the ground during the search.

According to the release, the search included fifteen agencies, including over thirty search and rescue members and four  tracking dogs from Summit to Sound Search and Rescue. The search area included steep and rocky terrain with areas of forest land, think brush and downed trees. In addition to topography, crews were challenged by darkness, thick fog, winds and rain.

After 18 hours in the elements, Keyes, who has limited use of his arms was located by Search and Rescue members on an 86-acre parcel of land owned by San Juan County Landbank near his home. He was found cold and wet,  laying alongside a log where he had fallen and been unable to get up. The temperatures overnight had dipped into the mid 40’s. Once located, Search and Rescue teams worked to extricate Keyes using a stokes basket and they transported him back to his residence for evaluation.

Orcas Island Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Nick Kiniski, who held command throughout the incident, shared his gratitude
for all involved.  “We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. Thank you all very much for taking the time to travel out here and help.”

Orcas Island Fire and Rescue would like to recognize and extend a Thank You to the following agencies for their time and resources throughout this event:
Washington State Department of Emergency Management
San Juan County Department of Emergency Management
San Juan County Sheriff’s Office
San Juan County Dispatch
Washington State Parks Rangers
Skagit County Sheriff’s Office
U.S. Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island
U.S. Coast Guard
Summit to Sound Search and Rescue
Whatcom County Search and Rescue
Snohomish County Search and Rescue
Skagit County Search and Rescue
Lopez Island Fire and Rescue
San Juan Island Fire and Rescue



About the Author

Chris Nelson
I'm a long time Skagit County Resident. I believe in doing the right thing and helping others when you can.

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