Sierra County Sheriff's Office immediately requested assistance from the California Highway Patrol Air Operation, and a helicopter responded to search for the stranded family. In addition to the helicopter, Sierra County requested mutual aid from the Nevada County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, Downieville Fire Department, and the United States Forest Service (Tahoe National Forest).
The CHP helicopter was not able to locate the stranded family due to the thick tree canopy but was able to locate the husband and his vehicle on the canyon rim. The helicopter was then able to guide deputies to his location. While Search and Rescue members were responding, deputies hiked to the wife and children led in by the husband. Deputies locate the family approximately 2500 feet down the canyon in some of the steepest terrain in western Sierra County. While deputies tended to the wife, Nevada County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, Downieville Fire, and Forest Service personnel hiked in to assist.
Search and Rescue members escorted the husband, child, and infant up the rough terrain and back to their vehicle. Search and Rescue, Downieville Fire and Forest Service personnel remained with the wife overnight until there was enough daylight for the CHP helicopter to hoist her out of the canyon to an awaiting medevac helicopter.
The Sierra County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Nevada County Search and Rescue, Downieville Fire Department, the Tahoe National Forest Service, the California Highway Patrol, and Enloe FlightCare for all their hard work and for making this rescue a success. We would also like to thank the McKenzie family who graciously allowed the sheriff's office to use their side-by-side to shuttle rescuers in and out of the area.