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We almost had a club member lose his life

Old 07-08-2019, 02:18 AM
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Location: Sevierville, Tennessee
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Default We almost had a club member lose his life

We had an incident at the field Friday that almost cost one of our members his life. Bob, who is 86 years old, was flying around 8 am and lost his plane off to the right side of the field. We are on top of the old landfill and it drops off pretty steeply on all sides. The grass/weeds have grown to almost chest height as the county has not done the mid summer bush hogging yet. It was very hot and humid, 92 degrees and about 80% humidity. No one else was out with him so he went into the high grass by himself looking for it. He was overcome by the heat and passed out sometime around 9 am. By the time it was discovered he was missing and 911 was called he had been out there over 9 hours in that debilitating heat..

Thank the good Lord that another member went out that afternoon to cut the grass and noticed his gear and car were there. But he was not. He called to let me know and based on Bob's habits I knew he had gone looking for a plane so I called 911 to get some help right away. Sevier County Emergency response agencies including the Sheriff's department, Pigeon Forge FD, Sevier county FD, Sevier County Rescue Squad and others I'm sure I am missing began an extensive search and he was located close to midnight. All total there was close to 100 Emergency responders on and around our airfield looking for him.

He is in ICU at our local hospital but should recover ok. This could have ended tragically, thank God they found him. I visited with him yesterday and today and his spirits are good and should recover. He was so dehydrated that he is now having some kidney issues and still having a hard time swallowing anything.

It is always a good idea to use the buddy system when flying but in a small club, we have less than 20 members, it is not always practical to have someone with you. While visiting him he knows he made a terrible decision to head off the runway without someone else there, or at least letting someone know what he was doing and what area he would be in.

I have already instituted a new procedure for our club. "If you are at the field flying by yourself do not leave the short cut grass area without notifying someone first. Make sure they know what you are doing and the area you will be in. I would highly recommend not going off field without someone with you for safety purposes." This will be put into our club bylaws as soon as possible.

Just think, think what if, what if something were to happen to you at your field. We are all very thankful today to still have our friend with us.

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Old 07-08-2019, 10:38 AM
Don Sims
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Location: Middle Tennessee
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Glad to hear out worked out ok Bill. It's tragic that he ended up in the hospital but it sounds like the community resources pulled together to find him.
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Old 07-08-2019, 05:08 PM
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Location: Lacey WA, 1 mile E of Mushroom Corner
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One of the 2 RC clubs in the Olympia WA area uses a Google reflector system extensively.
It is an email reflector (relay) system, where any club member can send a message to the "Reflector" and it sends it back out to the entire club. Someone might just say; Hey I am going flying tomorrow at 9:30, anyone else? and someone usually will respond with what time they will be there.
There is a huge area of tall brush out past the runway, if one person was lost in that on a hot day it could be tragic.
Our other club has a reflector also but doesn't use it as much.

It is a free Google service, I set one up for the second club, so it is not hard. Everyone that wants to be on it, just gives their email address to the "Owner" of the reflector, and he sets it up.
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Old 07-08-2019, 10:38 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: South East Queensland, Australia
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Pleased to hear it has turned out well. Thinking of him.
It happened in Australia as well. It was a bit more tragic though sadly.

Post no #1788

Last edited by Panther; 07-08-2019 at 10:55 PM.
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