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January 5, 2017

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Search and Rescue

Couple Stranded in National Forest Near Gold Hill

Boulder County, Colo. --On Wednesday, January 4, 2017, at around 4:45pm, Boulder County Dispatch received a call from 29 year old Max Johnson, and 22 year old Brooke Cox, who advised they were stranded in the area of Forest Service Road 456A (near the mountain community of Gold Hill, in unincorporated Boulder County, Colorado), somewhere within the forest. The cell phone signal apparently was lost, and Dispatch was unable to re-contact them.

Deputies from the Boulder County Sheriff's Office, along with firefighters from Gold Hill Fire Protection District, and rescuers from Rocky Mountain Rescue Group were dispatched to the area in an attempt to located the stranded couple. A second call was received by Dispatch, but this call also dropped. After nearly two hours of searching the national forest, rescue crews were able to locate the pair, who were cold, but uninjured. They were subsequently given a ride home, as their vehicle was unable to be moved.

As it happened, the couple had gone camping the night before and went hiking during the day on January 4. It wasn't until they saw how quickly the snow was coming down from the current winter storm, that they tried to leave the area. However, their vehicle became stuck. The vehicle had nearly run out of gas and the battery had died by the time rescuers found them. According to a deputy on scene, their 4x4 vehicle had nearly bald tires, which did not help them in the treacherous conditions.

This situation serves as a reminder that only those trained and well prepared to deal with harsh winter conditions in the mountains should attempt to recreate in mountainous areas during the winter. While many people rely on their cell phones for maps, and communication with others, cell phones don't work in many parts of the back country. Outdoor enthusiasts should always let others know where they are going and when they plan on being back, so that emergency personnel can be called should the enthusiasts not return at the day and time planned.

This search and rescue was documented under Boulder County Sheriff's Office case number 17-79.

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/s/Sergeant Brian Jones, Boulder County Sheriff's Office