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SISKIYOU COUNTY, Calif. - Around 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the California Highway Patrol Northern Air Operations lifted off to search for two people missing in a remote area of Siskiyou County for five days.
“Since we are the only air operation other than Cal Fire up here we do a lot of this kind of stuff,” Said Pilot Steve Weyand.
Crews had been searching on the ground with no success, so they said it was time to take to the air.
The first stop was Fall River Mills airport to pick up fuel and discuss the search pattern.
The crew launched back into the air and flew over the first ridge toward the search area.
The pilot quickly spotted what looked to be footprints in the snow, but after circling a few times they determined it was animal tracks.
“Yeah looks like it’s just going from tree to tree… looks kind of animally to me… let's head over this ridge and see if we can find something,” The flight officer said over the radio as the search resumed.
The next stop was an arrow drawn on the ground that ground search and rescue crews had found the day before.
Although they didn’t know if it was left by the pair, being the lead they had, the crew decided to follow it.
The pilot and flight officer brought the helicopter to head along a small road where the arrow had pointed to.
A short time later, the pilot and reporter Spencer Joseph spotted a small plume of smoke on the horizon.
“Yeah, I can see them right there waving!” Weyand said, “oh they have a dog with them too!”
The challenge became finding a place to land, which can be hard on uneven terrain.
However, it seemed to be easy work for this experienced flight crew.
Now came the rescue and after five days of being in the woods the two men were overjoyed to see the helicopter.
“Oh man, we are so glad to see you… we thought we were going to die out here,” One of the hikers said.
Since there were only four seats the Action News Now crew happily gave up two seats so the hikers could get home as quickly as possible.
While this seems like an incredible story… and it is… for these men who fly they say it’s just another day at the office.