December 29, 2011
A Colorado Army National Guard helicopter helped in the successful search for a Colorado Springs hunter and his companion Thursday morning after they disappeared while hunting outside of Saguache.
Salvador Garcia, 82, of Saguache, and Alan Martinez, 62 of Colorado Springs, were in the woods outside the community in the northern San Luis Valley Wednesday when their truck overheated, said Saguache County Sheriff Mike Norris.
The men spent Wednesday night in their truck five miles north of the Saguache County Airport, and were able to run the engine periodically throughout the night to stay warm. The men had left to hunt at 8 a.m., and were expected back by 4 p.m.. When they didn’t return, the sheriff was called.
“I had people out all over the mountains looking,” Norris said Thursday.
The helicopter joined area law enforcement and search and rescue teams looking for the men. The chopper, an OH-58 Kiowa manned by two Colorado Army National Guard soldiers, took off at 7:40 a.m. Thursday from Gypsum.
Innovation, rather than an impressive search led to the rescue. The pair used their rifle as a signal gun to attract the attention of a passer by. The men weren’t hurt by their overnight ordeal, Norris said.
The two men are brothers-in-law, said their niece, Lori Lujan of Colorado Springs. Garcia usually hunts rabbits, but before the two could begin the hunt Wednesday they had car trouble on the road, Lujan said.
Searchers spent the night looking for the men, and gave up the search around 4 a.m. before resuming again at daylight, Lujan said.
Her uncles arrived at the family home in Saguache no worse for the wear.
“They’re fine,” Lujan said. “Folks have brought some food over, and some other folks went to pick up the truck.”
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