Utah Hams Coordinate Rescue
In areas where cell phone signals just won't work, Amateur Radio gets through. That's what happened when Brent Yeates, KA7FAP, of North Logan, Utah, found out just before noon on Wednesday, December 2 when he came across a dairy truck that had crashed and rolled over in the Logan River as he drove on Route 89 through Logan Canyon.
As 38,000 pounds of dairy products were spilling into the Logan River, Yeates waded through the cold river to help get the driver out of the truck's cab and then put out a call on his handheld transceiver. Another ham, Brent Carruth, AD7VF, of Logan, was monitoring the repeater and heard Yeates make the call. Carruth listened as Yeates give a first-hand account of the condition of the driver and the seriousness of the crash and then called 911. According to The Herald Journal, Utah Highway Patrol officials originally reported that the call for help came from a motorist who traveled to a cell phone reception area before dialing 911.
"What happened Wednesday, where a radio operator happened upon an accident, was not an isolated incident," Carruth told the newspaper. "It happens more frequently than one might suppose." Yeates, who owns property in the canyon and travels it weekly, agreed saying he says he helps a crash victim at least once a year: "When you pull up on an accident, your first concern is to make sure the driver or passengers are okay. I grabbed my fire extinguisher because there was smoke coming from the truck and I could hear the driver talking and he said he was okay."
This is not the first time a radio amateur was on hand to help out in Logan Canyon: In March 2008, Eldon Kearl, K7OGM, of Fish Haven, Idaho, was driving in the Logan Canyon, Utah area when he came upon a driver who lost control of her truck in the snow. Her truck fell more than 100 feet over a cliff, and two of the three passengers were thrown from the truck. Using his handheld transceiver, Kearl was able to contact Roger Ellis, KE7HTE, of Logan through the local repeater to ask for help.
Carruth explained that a radio operator virtually anywhere in the mountains of Cache or Rich County can broadcast a signal to the repeater that sits atop Logan Peak in the Bear River Mountains east of Logan. The cluster of communication equipment rises about 5200 feet above the valley floor, giving gives the spot a strong vantage point over much of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. The Logan River rises in the Bear River Mountains in Idaho and flows south, then southwest through Logan Canyon and the Wasatch-Cache National Forest to the city of Logan in the Cache Valley. It then joins the Little Bear River a few kilometers west of Logan and about eight kilometers upstream from where the Little Bear River joins the Bear River. -- Information provided by The Herald Journal