MMA Search and Rescue: Teller County

 On November 29, 2017, DFPC's Multi-Mission Aircraft (MMA) Program Manager, Peter Vidmar, received a call from the Duty Officer notifying him that the MMA had been requested to assist in a search and rescue mission near the Park and Teller County boundaries.

"The details were vague, but included an injured hiker who had intermittent (10 seconds) phone calls to Park County dispatch in the vicinity of Smoky Hawk Mine," said Vidmar. After talking to both Park and Teller county dispatches, establishing radio frequencies, and ground contacts, the crew launched.

In the air, Vidmar was provided with additional information that the hiker was approximately 1 mile from any road on the north side of a knob. Once on station, Vidmar began searching around prominent knobs in the area using CO-WIMS. About 10 minutes into the search, Vidmar identified a bright flare on the infrared camera. "It vanished quickly, but I marked its location to watch from various angles on the orbit," said Vidmar. "On the next orbit, I no longer saw the bright heat source, but saw a heat signature that was obviously warmer than the surrounding environment."
The location matched the description provided by Teller County Search and Rescue (SAR). Vidmar relayed the coordinates to the ground team and as they moved to the area, Vidmar attempted to verify the heat. "When I switched to the EO (color) camera, I saw a strange bluish light that was moving, like a headlamp," said Vidmar. "It eventually flashed at the plane, and I decided it was most likely the subject."
The aircraft remained on station as the SAR team arrived at the subject's location. Vidmar confirmed that the team arrived safely and rendered aid to the patient, Vidmar also confirmed with Command that the SAR was with the subject and that access had been found for an ambulance.