Comps and Events, News

Paragliding World Cup, Sun Valley: The search for Guy Anderson

Monday 27 August, 2012

And a final update to this post, from Guy Anderson himself who updated his Facebook profile earlier today:

Guy Anderson is world champion hide and seek winner.

Huge thanks to all those that came to my rescue… Words don’t express how humbled I feel by putting you all through the wringer for 48 hours. I certainly was pretty frightened out there but knowing you were coming for me gave me the strength to wobble along. Big op on shoulder tomorrow, will let you know how it’s going Friday.

Needless to say, my spot will be on order ASAP! Will write the full version of events in due course and also make a list of things to go in that side pocket hopefully never to be used unless that bit of air with your name on it finds you too.

Much Love to one and all.

Russell Ogden, who was involved in the search for Guy emailed this update this morning:

I’m just back from seeing Guy in hospital, he is doing just fine and is in great spirits, his usual jovial self.

He has a stable fracture of the pelvis, 6 broken ribs, a broken humour (at the top near shoulder), a lacerated kidney and cuts and bruises around his face. They have not operated on his shoulder yet as they have to wait for the swelling to go down, they expect Thursday. Everything else will heal in its own time and is not serious. In the meantime he is enjoying some great pharmaceuticals.

He had an epic experience, to put it mildly. Two nights out in freezing conditions enduring thunderstorms, rain, severe pain, hallucinations and moments of delusion. He was not at his wing when we found him, after the first night he decided to get himself out and managed to walk with all the above injuries about 2 miles in 2 days through pretty difficult terrain. He was in a bit of a state when we finally found him from the helicopter, walking with the aid of a big stick making 3inch steps with clothing draped over his head and his arm in a makeshift sling. He had water and i am confident he would have kept going for another few days and saved himself without the massive SAR operation.

The guys here did an amazing job. I really dont think anyone else could have pulled it off they way they did. There were 100+ volunteers searching the (huge) search area on foot, 4x4s, motorcross bikes, horses, small aircrafts, big aircrafts and a Black Hawk helicopter (yeah baby!). Obviously we were all super relieved to finally find him, as we all thought he would be dead. I have never cried out of sheer relief before in my life and I was not the only one. We celebrated with a big party last night and lots of people got very, very drunk. We really owe a massive debt to our colonial friends who made a heroic effort to find our friend.

Thank you guys for what you did, you raised a load of cash in a very short amount of time and even though it wasn’t used it was inspiring for us on the ground to know we had the support if needed. Guy also says a MASSIVE thank you to you all. Nick will reject/repay all the payments, but give him a few days to make that happen.

Sorry for the delay of news but we are all completely exhausted, having just a few hours sleep since Saturday. Great vibe amongst the flying community here with everyone very upbeat. I am coming home tomorrow a happy man.

All the best

9am, update: Nicole McLearn has blogged about the search for Guy. She wrote:

At this point we got the call that Guy’s paraglider had been found, and to return to HQ. Further information when we returned to debrief was that he had crashed his paraglider on the side of a hill, no reserve deployed, and had crawled/walked downhill (leaving his gear behind) for 1-2 miles. When found he was still mobile but had multiple broken bones. Good news though was that he still had at least a liter of water left on him so had possibly found a stream over the past 48 hours.

Guy is currently undergoing surgery and is expected to be OK! Personally I’m so happy right now I could burst! I’ve been involved in too many other searches and fatalities in the past few months and I wasn’t sure if I could handle #3 in such a short period of time. A big thanks to all the other searchers (maybe 50 in total) and the administrative personnel such as Zak who made things happen until the sheriff’s office took over. It’s incidents such as this that makes me realize how awesome and tight-knit our community is…what we do is dangerous and it’s important that we all look out for each other! I’m so proud of my fellow searchers!

The local news team reported on Guy’s rescue:

After he was found, Anderson was transported to St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center at around 3:30 pm Monday for assessment. He was being evaluated for injuries to his left arm, ribs, spine and possible internal injuries. The extent of those injuries is unknown.

Philippe Broers, PWCTV’s cameraman released this film of the search and rescue operation in action:

Update: 10.45pm UK time: Guy Anderson has been found and is on his way to hospital by helicopter. Posting on PGforum Nick Greece, a local pilot who has been involved in the rescue confirmed: “We found him!!!! He is in the Blackhawk Helicopter on the way to hospital!!!!”

11.15pm: We have heard that Guy is “alive but injured and is stable and en route to hospital”. It is reported that he was found next to his glider with a leg injury, and possible other injuries plus exposure.

Blaine County Sheriff confirmed that Guy had been found. In a statement on their website, posted at 3.53pm local time (10.53pm UK time), they reported:

The Blaine County Sheriff’s Office has just been informed that the lost paraglider pilot has been located. Guy Anderson is currently on board a helicopter transport to the Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey where he will be transferred by ambulance to St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center for medical assessment. His medical condition is unknown at this time. Blaine County Sheriff Gene Ramsey and the Blaine County Search and Rescue wish to thank all those involved in this successful outcome.

Pilots are asked not to donate any more money to Nick Greece’s Paypal account – the fundraising drive is closed.

We hope to report news of Guy’s condition once we know more, but in the meantime there will be no more updates here until 28 August.

A big thank you to all those involved in the search and rescue, both from the pilot world and the emergency services and volunteers from Blaine County, Idaho. And a big Get Well Soon to Guy.



British pilot Guy Anderson is missing following the final task of the Paragliding World Cup in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Competition organiser Mike Pfau issued this statement at 4.45pm UK time today. It reads in full:

This is a statement for August 27th 2012
RE: Guy Anderson’s Search and Rescue

On August 25th 2012 during the PWC in Sun Valley Idaho, a pilot went missing. The pilot was Guy Anderson of Great Britain. The task was a 113km race over big country. Pilots had made goal before the [task] was stopped due to several level three reports due to strong winds along course line.

The retrieve coordination was well under way back along course line. I was the final vehicle leaving the goal area picking up remaining pilots along the way. Before I left The town of Carey to return to Headquarters I was informed of two pilots still up in the little wood river area north of the little wood reservoir.

We had a good Spot location of the first Pilot Juan Carlos Baccera of Argentina. I was informed at that time by the PWC that the last track from Guy was reported at 10,600 feet and had not updated since.

With the evening approaching and the terrain we were in I then decided to initiate local Search and rescue. After Several hours of searching I located Juan, with the help of search and rescue that had arrived. I transported him back to Carey where some pilots had mobilized to help in the effort.

I was then informed Guy was still out there. Search and rescue efforts had been called off due to the dark, and a larger effort was being mobilized for an air search effort the next day. Myself and several other pilots stayed all night until daybreak searching with no results.

The following morning we mobilized pilots in groups of two with SPOT trackers, GPS, and radio’s. I phoned a local friend and asked him to put local pilot Nate Scales in the air along with Russ Ogden and Nick Greece. By 9:30 we had over 15 teams and an aircraft were working along course line to find Guy. As of this morning August 27th at 9am we had not found Guy.

The search effort grows today with the addition of helicopters and more volunteers. The Open Distance National Championship has been put on hold and all Organization resources are being used to help in the search effort.

I will send another update when there is more to report. Please keep Guy in your thoughts, and know we are doing everything possible to find him.

Mike Pfau,
Event Organizer.

Separately today (Monday), the PWCA also posted a statement to their website. It reads in full:

British pilot Guy Anderson is currently missing in Sun Valley. During the final task on Saturday Guy’s live tracker, unfortunately, stopped sending position reports early in the task and, at the end of the ‘report back’ phase, we discovered that we had no information on his location.

Local search and rescue services were called in and launched an operation to locate him but, as of now, we have no further information. We have in excess of 100 people on the ground, 3 aeroplanes and a helicopter involved in the search and we are in constant communication with the local organisation. As soon as we have any news it will be posted here.

The Paragliding World Cup apologises for the delay in posting this news but we felt it would be inappropriate to comment until Guy’s wife had been contacted and we have no internet access while travelling.

Our thoughts are with Guy’s relatives and friends and, of course, with Guy at this time.

A local TV station reported on the search for Guy on Sunday. KMVT said:

This morning 50 people are searching the area and Sheriff Ramsey said that number is growing rapidly. Paragliding events have been suspended today to search for Anderson in the area the sheriff describes as mountainous. While there are 500 square miles in the searching area, officials say he should have followed the recommended path.

Blaine County Sheriff’s office released a statement about the search for Guy just before he was found:

At approximately 0730 hours on 08/26/2012 Blaine County Search and Rescue Command was put in place and a formal search was initiated. Civil Air Patrol (CAP) planes were dispatched from Idaho Falls and Pocatello to conduct a grid search for Anderson. The Paragliding World Cup event command center began to coordinate operations with at least 50 people on the ground. At approximately 1530 hours, the command center was relocated to the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office at the Blaine County Public Safety Facility in Hailey.

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