Christmas vision quest turns into search and rescue mission
by M. Diane Bairstow
Search and Rescue:At 10:30 a.m. Christmas morning, the Saguache County Sherriff’s Dept. received a concerned report that William Rook, of Crestone, had set off toward Willow Creek at 2 a.m. The Sherriff’s Dept. dispatched a two-person Search and Rescue Hasty Team that followed his tracks but had to return without contact.
On the 26th, a three-person team was dispatched. They discovered Rook’s tracks continued above the falls, but because of short days and winter conditions, they too had to return to base camp without contact, arriving back at 8:30 p.m. Rook’s cell phone was turned off, but by triangulating and pinging from his last call at 11 a.m. Christmas Day, they were able to determine that he was between Willow Lake and Willow Lake Valley.
On the 27th, a Black Hawk helicopter was dispatched and flew to the area, spotted Rook, loaded him up and returned him to base camp. Rook was cold and a bit dehydrated, but okay. He was on a vision quest and planned to return the next day.
Lisa Bodi was the Incident Commander of the 3-day search, which involved 7 Saguache County responders and members of the Alamosa and Custer County Search and Rescue.