From tragedy comes training: California Oregon Regional Search and Rescue


ROSEBURG, Ore. - The search for the Kim family gained national attention in 2006 after the family got lost on an old logging road trying to make their way to Gold Beach.

A helicopter eventually rescued Kati Kim and the family's two children.

James Kim (at right) died from exposure on his search for help.

Search and rescue groups later conducted reviews of that mission.

"What we did learn is we were unprepared as a region to handle a large scale search operation," said Cpl. Brian Melvin with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

Since 2007, 9 counties in southern Oregon and northern California have formed the California Oregon Regional Search and Rescue cooperative, or CORSAR for short.

"Any time one of our counties are in need of resource assistance, all they have to do is call," Melvin said. "If we have it available, we send it and we help out."

The cooperative's annual training was held last weekend in Douglas County. More than 300 people assembled for training at Diamond Lake.

"We have classes going on on K9 handling, ATV use, 4-wheel drive, winching," said Deputy Dwes Hutson with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. "There's classes that are being taught on bone identification."

According to Douglas County officials, the program has been very successful.

"The governor's office made it mandatory that the rest of the state break up into regions just as CORSAR did and form their own cooperative regions and start training," Melvin said.

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