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Thread: $25,000 fine assessed for teen hiker

  1. #211
    Senior Member marty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmac View Post
    In a search and rescue, if a hiker is found deceased, do they charge the family?
    KMAC,

    Not in the case of my dear friend, Ray Loring. He had a fatal heart attack during a bushwhack of Peak Above The Nubble.

    Marty
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  2. #212
    Senior Member forestgnome's Avatar
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    general comment...

    I bushwack a lot and I do think it's more dangerous to do so because it will take much longer to be rescued. I don't consider it negligent, but should I need to employ the services of SAR, I'd expect a bill simply because a service has been employed on my behalf.


    American society has ventured far from her liberty-loving roots. Now we want everything for free from mommy government. We want hunters and others to pay for a service that saves our own life.

    Is your car payment an injustice?
    Last edited by forestgnome; 07-31-2009 at 05:53 AM.

  3. #213
    Senior Member RoySwkr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Seaver View Post
    That's the frightening part. I don't think I would want the safety of my mountain activities judged by the likes of the UL commentators.
    I knew a guy who was hesitant to take his kid winter hiking because he might appear reckless in a custody case.

    Apparently under the old common law in England, a jury of your peers was made up of community members who knew the parties involved and were likely to render a better decision than one from a remote king's agent. Now of course if you know the parties you are excused from service. And in the Manchester shooting case, the defendant's lawyer argued that instead of being tried locally the case should be moved to somewhere that the residents were more like the defendant who was not originally from NH. Perhaps if F&G considers you reckless, that means the case should be judged by a panel of reckless hikers :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by kmac View Post
    In a search and rescue, if a hiker is found deceased, do they charge the family?
    I have seen a statement that they don't charge in fatal cases regardless of fault

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul the Explorer View Post
    in addition some have compared this type of rescue service with police charging to answer a break-in or the VFD coming out to save your foundation during a fire.
    ...
    I think,ultimately, some type of outdoor users insurance would be the best solution.Not everyone would get it and those that did would be subsidizing those that didnt. But at least we would have a benefit that would (hopefully) be usable in other places.Maybe some kind of partnership with outdoor products manufacturers ( with the added incentive of freeing them from some liability) Or maybe making the insurance card the cool accessory to go with those cross trainers with the stripes and logos !!!
    The actual rescue is more akin to calling an ambulance where you do get a bill, in at least one case the DART helicopter was used and they do render bills. But a rescue where the location is known is a straightforward operation where the cost may be expensive but not boundless. A search however can cost huge sums if the person isn't found right away and the expense is more under the person's control if they stick to their plan or carry a satellite beacon.

    What bugs me about insurance is the excessive premiums that are proposed. People talk of $10/year but if you divide the F&G S&R expense by the number of different hikers each year in NH the cost is less than $1 each which would be too expensive to collect unless the pass was good for 10 years or more. Of course once the pot of money was available, there would be a lot more groups clamoring for a share so I think a multistate pass is a nonstarter. The cost of S&R is a drop in the bucket compared to the rooms and meals tax collected, or even the amount it would drop if NH started requiring a pass and the number of visitors dropped, but the state doesn't see it that way.

  4. #214
    Senior Member griffin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by forestgnome View Post
    general comment...

    American society has ventured far from her liberty-loving roots. Now we want everything for free from mommy government. We want hunters and others to pay for a service that saves our own life.

    Is your car payment an injustice?
    Bad analogy - imo, a better comparison is the example of the police charging you when you call to report that your car's been stolen, or that you've been in an accident. And further, as in this instance, only charging certain people. Would you consider that just?

    On another tangent - let's say they DO start charging everyone. Who do you think gets hit harder by the possibility of a $25K fee? Who is more likely to find that financially burdensome enough to keep them out of the woods? "Real Hikers"? Or the "credit card-wielding, yuppie AMC scum" that some on this board are fond of railing at?
    Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

  5. #215
    Senior Member J.Dub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by griffin View Post
    On another tangent - let's say they DO start charging everyone. Who do you think gets hit harder by the possibility of a $25K fee? Who is more likely to find that financially burdensome enough to keep them out of the woods? "Real Hikers"? Or the "credit card-wielding, yuppie AMC scum" that some on this board are fond of railing at?
    This speaks to my post, oh, four or five pages back.

    Should we consider SAR activities as public service (a la fire/police) or fee-for-service (e.g., private ambulance).

    I'm not sure there's a right or wrong answer, but I do believe that one's opinion on this question affects how they view the current $25K expense recovery case.

    As an aside -- I just wanted to thank everybody for their input/comments on this thread. Yes, it's long, but there's a lot of good discussion going on (IMO) without things degenerating into the name-calling and personal attacks found so often on Intreenet forums. It's refreshing, I tell ya!
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  6. #216
    Senior Member SAR-EMT40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by griffin View Post
    a better comparison is the example of the police charging you when you call to report that you've been in an accident. And further, as in this instance, only charging certain people. Would you consider that just?
    I have mentioned before that we (Fire/Rescue/EMS) DO charge people for car accidents where we need to use the Hurst tool (jaws of life) on the heavy rescue vehicle. If the accident is on the highway, and the State police who investigate accidents on the interstate charge you in the accident you also get to pay for your extrication and anyone else’s.

    This policy came about in a very straightforward manner. The expenses incurred were looked at and it was found that the most expensive accidents/rescues/fires/medical responses we have are the highway accidents. In terms of personnel, equipment and wear and tear. Our town, not a large town, was using a very large amount of its fire/rescue budget to basically rescue people driving through our town recklessly. Like everyone else’s budget ours was being reduced and several years ago we started to charge the person deemed responsible by the State police when we were called to an accident were the heavy rescue truck was used to extricate people.


    And yes, I do consider it just. I am less certain about the Scott Mason case. I do believe it should be handled in court so we can see F&G’s line of reasoning and how they justify the fee recovery.

    Keith
    Last edited by SAR-EMT40; 07-31-2009 at 09:56 AM.
    "The real work of men was hunting meat. The invention of agriculture was a giant step in the wrong direction, leading to serfdom, cities, and empire. From a race of hunters, artists, warriors, and tamers of horses, we degraded ourselves to what we are now: clerks, functionaries, laborers, entertainers, processors of information."- Ed Abbey

  7. #217
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    A few Stories, many years old

    First story....listening to an account from a fellow peakbagger about mountaineering in Canada. He mentioned climbing some large peak - Robson? On the way down his partner slips and breaks his leg. So he high tails it out to the Ranger's station. He enters the office and explains the situation. The ranger says they have a helicopter available and can do a rescue....would he like that? Yes. The ranger then said, the cost is $750 - how would you like to pay for that?....um do you take Visa? Yes. the ranger ran the strip and 1 hr later his buddy was in the parking lot.

    Second story, For some time I lived in France. I was active with the Club Alpin Francais - the rough equivalent of the AMC. When you become a member the dues includes rescue insurance. This is std for most European hiking clubs. The annual dues was about $50 vs. $30 for the AMC at the time. I think the current cost for the CAF is $80? Anyway the insurance was for wilderness rescue and it covered evacuation, anywhere, globally.

    Taking this further when you downhill ski in Europe, the lift ticket is sold without evacuation service. The evacuation service is separate. This is sometimes called a snow card (carte niege) You typically buy it for the season. If you do not have a carte neige and need evacuation, they bill you. I was told it is not cheap for this service. If you are a CAF member then your membership insurance covers ski area evacuation too so you do not need a snow card.

    And even further, I asked an American mountaineering friend how he handled the insurance question in europe. He said the best solution was the Austrian Mountaineering club that has the member insurance and the lowest annual cost. He bought an annual membership when he climbs in Europe - Mt Blanc, Matterhorm type climbs with guides.

    Okay, another story. I was climbing Mt Blanc du Tacule and my rope mate witnessed a fall in front of us on our route. The guy fell and broke his leg. Compond fracture. We continued on out route towards him. As we walked we watched the red helicopter come, hover, lower two guys and a basket, leave. After 20min the helicopter returns and takes the injured guy and his partner away. Then it came back anf retrieved the rescuers. An lastly, when blood hits snow it stays red, unlike the browning effect on warm ground.


    So there are areas where costs and coverage for rescue is already "worked out" Is it cheap dirt no, but neither is car insurance.

  8. #218
    Senior Member J.Dub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John H Swanson
    Okay, another story. I was climbing Mt Blanc du Tacule and my rope mate witnessed a fall in front of us on our route. The guy fell and broke his leg. Compond fracture. We continued on out route towards him. As we walked we watched the red helicopter come, hover, lower two guys and a basket, leave. After 20min the helicopter returns and takes the injured guy and his partner away. Then it came back anf retrieved the rescuers.
    Interesting stories, John. The insurance angle is something that's been mentinoed upthread, but I think an important thing to point out is that, in all your anecdotes, these were rescues. Victim location known, injury known...boom: call in the helo and evac them out. The entire operation could take less than an hour with a couple of people (including the pilot).

    Contrast this with the Mason case, which was a search. Without looking up all the specific details in this instance, searches can run many days (maybe up to a week?) with dozens (hundreds?) of people involved, as well as machinery (helos, Sno-Cats, quads, etc.) The need for Maine's helo notwithstanding, it's easy to see where a search could be MUCH more expensive than a rescue.

    IIRC, some of the currently available "rescue insurance" doesn't cover massive searches, which is unfortunate.

    Maybe the thing to do is say that SAR/F&G/Forest Service/etc. will only provide a limited quantity of search and/or rescue services as part of their "normal" duties (say 25 man-hours, just to pull a number out of my ear) and anything over-and-above that will be charged back to the victim.

    Whaddya all think about that idea?

    Quote Originally Posted by John H Swanson
    An lastly, when blood hits snow it stays red, unlike the browning effect on warm ground.
    Ewwww....
    "Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball."

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  9. #219
    Senior Member mtnpa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.Dub View Post
    Should we consider SAR activities as public service (a la fire/police) or fee-for-service (e.g., private ambulance).

    I'm not sure there's a right or wrong answer, but I do believe that one's opinion on this question affects how they view the current $25K expense recovery case.
    SAR activities are volunteer. Bringing in a copter is the big expense.
    Last edited by mtnpa; 07-31-2009 at 12:20 PM.
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  10. #220
    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.Dub View Post

    As an aside -- I just wanted to thank everybody for their input/comments on this thread. Yes, it's long, but there's a lot of good discussion going on (IMO) without things degenerating into the name-calling and personal attacks found so often on Intreenet forums. It's refreshing, I tell ya!
    Who asked for your opinion ? The only reason no one offers a penney for your thoughts is that you can't make change. I mean, I see the wheel but I think the hamster's died. Was that you at the Drive-In watching "Closed for the Season" ? I better be nice, at least until I'm safe back home on Monday...
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  11. #221
    Senior Member J.Dub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chip
    I better be nice, at least until I'm safe back home on Monday...

    Oh dear, it appears that I threaded this belay device backwards AND forgot to screw down the locking biner...



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  12. #222
    Senior Member Paradox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.Dub View Post
    Oh dear, it appears that I threaded this belay device backwards AND forgot to screw down the locking biner...



    "Come fly with meeeeee......"
    Get used to it. I chose to leave him hanging in a cravasse for 8 hours, with a ball point pen as his only anchor. You could hear his hollering halfway to Muir.
    Last edited by Paradox; 08-01-2009 at 07:05 AM.
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  13. #223
    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paradox View Post
    Get used to it. I chose to leave him hanging in a cravasse for 8 hours, with a ball point pen as his only anchor. You could hear his hollering halfway to Muir.
    "With friends like these..."

    Actually I consider ball-point-pen anchors and improperly threaded belay devices all part of the learning experience. It's nice to survive these outings and have something to "Night Terrors" about later.
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  14. #224
    Senior Member Tim Seaver's Avatar
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    Then-U.S.C.G. Commandant James Loy explained it best, in 1999, in the Coast Guard�s very similar position. �If the specter of financial reimbursement hung over the decision to report maritime distress, we could get fewer calls, we would get calls during later stages of emergencies, and more people would die at sea. This factor alone outweighs any consideration of how much money we might recoup,� said Admiral Loy.
    This quote, included in the statement by NASAR, sums it up best. Whether at sea or in the mountains, rescue operations being delayed by the fear of the cost of rescue are likely to compound the problem, for both the victim(s) and rescue personnel. Which means more money, more deaths, more grief.

    Looking at the extremely awkward PR optics at this point, I have to wonder if Scott was chosen deliberately just to show how desperate the need for funding is:

    "Hey everyone, look over here, we are so broke we are shaking down a 17 year-old kid for $25k because he made a few bad decisions under tricky spring conditions. Oh yeah, and he got himself out and already kicked down 1k on his own. Does that make us jerks, or just hard up for cash?"

    One other thought that keeps coming back to me per the mythical ( and no doubt, horribly boring) "reasonable person": Imagine what a dull world we would live in if it was only occupied by reasonable people? Was Bob Marshall "reasonable" when he took off on sixty mile days alone in the wilds of the ADK? Was Guy Waterman "reasonable" when he climbed the compass points of the 48K, much of it in winter? I think not.

    Here is to unreasonable people everywhere - you make our world brighter, better, and a whole lot more interesting.
    You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things — to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated. - Edmund Hillary

  15. #225
    Moderator David Metsky's Avatar
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    Apparently the parties are in negotiation.

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