By Nikki Silverstein
Hero: Thanks to a crew of Marin heroes, a 10-year-old Sacramento girl is safe after a snowshoeing accident in the High Sierra. As Samantha White walked across a snow bridge above a creek, it collapsed and she fell 10 feet into a hole and landed in the bitter cold water. Her father, who had been unable to lift her out, was on the phone with 911 when 14 members of the Marin County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (SAR) team just happened upon the scene. Perfect timing. The group had been training nearby and was headed back to camp. They assessed the situation and realized that the adjacent snow bridge could collapse into the hole.
Though they didn’t have the necessary equipment with them, the team improvised and devised a configuration of ropes. Within minutes, they pulled Samantha straight up from the hole and into their arms. Michael St. John, the unit leader at Marin SAR, said that the team used quick, critical thinking to get her out of harm’s way. If that’s not amazing enough, all SAR members are volunteers and six of the 14 involved in Samantha’s rescue are local high school students. In fact, Marin SAR, 100 strong, has the only mountain rescue team in the world with youth members. Kudos to Marin County Search and Rescue, with a special shout-out to the youth members who were an integral part of this mission: Max Schoenlein, Lauren Knott, Will Sileo, Cole Zesiger, Caelum Kelly, Kathryn Jarrell, Nicholas Forbes and Francesco Cico.