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SDWG on Standby for Family Member Search

October 25, 2022

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Rapid City - Members of South Dakota Wing, Civil Air Patrol (CAP), stood up for a mission October 20 involving a member of the CAP family.

William “Bill” Jones, the father of CAP member Ryan Jones, made a forced landing in the Badlands south of Scenic, when the ultralight paraglider he was flying lost engine power. Ryan, who had been flying a second paraglider, confirmed by radio that his father was in good shape and prepared to “walk out” but after sunset it was a moonless night in rugged territory. 

“Rushmore Composite Squadron reported a ground team and an aircrew within about 12 minutes of being informed that we might have a mission,” said Lt. Col. Craig Goodrich, South Dakota Wing vice commander. “It is a tribute to their commitment to CAP’s mission as a whole, and to their CAP family.”

Several local agencies responded to Ryan’s call for help. South Dakota Wing had a ground team, aircrew, and communications on alert. Wing personnel were in contact with the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC), the state Emergency Operations Center (EOC), and the Pennington County Sheriff, but other search assets ended up being sufficient. 

A Black Hills Life Flight helicopter located Bill shortly after arriving in the search area, thanks to a helmet mounted strobe used normally for additional visibility by other aircraft while flying.  When Pennington County SAR reached the patient, he was found to be in good condition. The steep and rugged Badlands terrain required rope teams to reach him.

“Thank you to all members who were “ready to go” in the middle of the night for this search,” said Col. Michael Marek, South Dakota Wing commander. 

Agencies supporting the search included Oglala Sioux Tribe Emergency Management, National Park Service Badlands Rangers, Pennington County SAR, Pennington /county Sheriff’s Office, Pennington County Emergency Management, New Underwood Volunteer Fire Department, Rapid City Fire Department Medics, Black Hills Life Flight, the FFF and Civil Air Patrol.

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