Throughout our searching for Jeff’s vehicle, both aerial and ground, the biggest problem we encountered and the easiest one to solve, was the identification of my brother’s wreckage amongst the hundreds of vehicle carcasses that littered the acres on either side of the highways. Spotting wreckage from the air was particularly difficult because without prior knowledge of what was already littering the desert floor, every piece of debris sighted had to be carefully checked and identified before being able to dismiss it from the search. Additionally, a ground search from the roadways often meant viewing the same wreckage viewed from the sky, and oftentimes meant hiking down to eliminate it from the search when binocular inspection was not enough.
How many volunteers, both on ground and air, looked at the same vehicle wreckage? What an incredible waste of man hours and equipment hours to search this way. And how do we improve this process? Lessons Learned. After we had launched several aerial search strategies, both single engine aircraft and helicopter, a simple idea hit one of us like one of those “Holy cow, why didn’t we think of this sooner” moments. I can’t tell you how many of those moments I and my family had as we were left alone on the first 7 days of our search and investigation looking for Jeff and Blue.