James Kim – Sad but WTF Was He Doing Leaving His Car?

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And you can quote me: "Ok, it has to be said, and when something callous about the recently-departed has to be said, you can rely on me to be as tactfully tactless as I can."

Posted in Observations, WTF?, December 6th, 2006


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Ok, it has to be said, and when something callous about the recently-departed has to be said, you can rely on me to be as tactfully tactless as I can.

This guy and his family get stranded in the snow, in the middle of NOWHERE between Grants Pass and Gold Beach, Oregon, and he leaves the car to go find help. In the middle of nowhere. Surrounded by snow.

Now, what’s the first rule of survival – of keeping safe – when stranded in the middle of nowhere?

STAY WITH THE CAR!

Now his wife and two children are safe, having been rescued from the car, and he’s dead.

Such a shame.

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8 Comments »

  1. “Try to sense what led to his decision. Two small children, a week lost in a deserted location, little or no food and a feeling of utter desperation. Until you have experienced a situation which was similar….I have found those that are critical of someone’s mistake are just worried they would make the same mistake.”

    Hey, I can’t even pretend to imagine what he was going through worrying about his wife and babies. I don’t fault him at all for ‘trying’ to do the best thing for his family. However, the first thing you learn while growing up where there are all extremes of weather (heat too) is to be prepared for the weather. I have dealt with harsh winters all my life pretty much and you have to be prepared. We had plenty of roads in Iowa that never got maintained in the winter. Guess what? You just DIDN’T take those roads. It really didn’t matter what kind of vehicle you owned, people just knew better. I was not, nor will I ever be worried about making the same mistake because I know better. Obviously, some people do not and it sometimes costs them their lives, as in this case. There is nothing one can do better then to be PREPARED. If you don’t drive the type of vehicle that has 4 wheel drive for adverse driving conditions, then simply don’t go there because you will no doubt be stuck and at the very least sitting and waiting for help. We have gotten stuck in the snow/ice before, but because we knew what to do, we got ourselves out of it. The phrase “blaming the victim” is overrused and tiresome. If someone else can possibly learn from another’s fatal mistakes then it may just save someone’s life if they are paying attention.

    Comment by Klecka — December 8, 2006 @ 4:24 am

  2. clynim
    > More importantly, I wonder why he didn’t have a cell
    > phone or CB or some other means of communicating with
    > the outside world while traveling.

    They did. 3 cellphones if I recall correctly. And it
    was the magnificent efforts of a pair of (Cingular?)
    employees
    who traced records seeking a momentary cell connect
    that led rescuers to the approximate area in
    which the family was lost.

    BUT cellphones don’t have universal coverage (as this
    shows us). There’s absolutely no substitute for being
    self-reliant and prepared for any eventuality. Sadly,
    in this case, tragedy was the result.

    Next time, perhaps you could be sure of your facts
    before making claims. I know this is only a blog, and
    so truth and research don’t count for as much as the
    ‘real world’, but
    let’s at least try to think, shall we?

    Comment by Grumpy Old Man — December 7, 2006 @ 5:33 pm

  3. Try to sense what led to his decision. Two small children, a week lost in a deserted location, little or no food and a feeling of utter desperation. Until you have experienced a situation which was similar….I have found those that are critical of someone’s mistake are just worried they would make the same mistake.

    Comment by logan — December 7, 2006 @ 4:24 pm

  4. These people made some very poor decisions and it cost the man his life. Now he will be hailed “a hero” by people all over the media. Bottom line, you don’t take remote roads in an area you have little or no knowledge of, especially in the winter. I grew up in Iowa and the winters there can be pretty brutal too, but I’m sure nowhere near what they are in the mountains in the PNW. I have experience driving in the winter and an SUV but would never dream of taking a road I don’t know out here. We’ve lived in WA state for about a year now and there are some very secluded places even around where we live. I would not be quite so trustful of maps, especially online ones. They have gotten us lost more then once with inaccurate information. Also, why would you think it would be a good idea to take a shortcut on a remote logging road in a Saab station wagon? That might not even be a good idea in a tank, let alone something that probably doesn’t even get good traction on a wet road. Don’t worry, in about a month or maybe less there will be another instance just like this one, or possibly another lost hiker, and they will have to call the troops out again to search for someone who did something dumb.

    Comment by Klecka — December 7, 2006 @ 1:39 am

  5. First of all, just because one is tech savvy does not make you savvy in other areas of life. I, myself, prefer an explicite route to follow if I’m not familiar with the area I’m traveling to. Also, I usually only check one online mapping service, not two or three. This may be typical of most people.

    More importantly, I wonder why he didn’t have a cell phone or CB or some other means of communicating with the outside world while traveling.

    Comment by clynim — December 6, 2006 @ 11:32 pm

  6. Howeird wrote:

    >But then, it was pretty stupid for them to have been on that road in the first place.< Funny you should say that. Some folks, including some of "the authorities", think that he got directions for that route from Google, with it being highlighted as the preferred route (which indeed, as of 2:30 p.m. today it still was). Written up here: http://www.theinternetpatrol.com/online-maps-and-directions-blamed-for-mans-death-in-snowy-oregon

    Comment by Annie — December 6, 2006 @ 10:32 pm

  7. Burning the tires was pretty stupid, too. He’s in the middle of the effing woods, there’s a ton of dead branches on the ground under the snow. Much easier to set on fire than tires.

    But then, it was pretty stupid for them to have been on that road in the first place. I drove some of the stretch he was on back in April, and certanly wouldn’t have tried it in the snow.

    Sad that he’s dead, but much, much sadder for his widow and children.

    Comment by howeird — December 6, 2006 @ 10:29 pm

  8. I suppose that after 3 days or so, he felt he Had To Do Something for his family.

    And they did everything else right…if only they’d save a tire to burn when the choppers got close…as i understand it, they’d burned at least one for heat.

    sigh

    Comment by Christopher W. — December 6, 2006 @ 7:44 pm

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