********Updated Press Release***********
On 03/21/20, at about 9:40am, John Pieratt was able to maneuver to a location and dial 9-1-1. At about that same time, one of the DCSO SAR snowmobile search teams arrived at his location, which can best be described as a meadow area in the upper Bend Watershed, just south of snowmobile Trail 8 and east of snomobile Trail 6. John is reported to be cold and tired, but otherwise in good condition. He will be transported by DCSO SAR snowmobile teams back to Kapka Butte sno-park and reunited with his family.
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank AirLink for all of their assistance with this search, as well as the Moon Country Snowbuster snowmobile club, who had riders in the area assisting with the search. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind those recreating in the backcountry that cell phones can be used to both call AND/OR text 9-1-1 if you become lost as a means to identify your location. All those recreating in the backcountry are encouraged to take with them the “Ten Essentials” for backcountry travel. These items include navigation, extra clothing/layers, light source, first aid supplies, fire source, mini tool kit, extra food and water, emergency shelter (space blanket or tarp) and sun protection.
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Location: Snowmobile Trail 6 Near Moon Mountain
By: Lt. Bryan Husband, Search and Rescue Coordinator
Lost Subject: John Pieratt, 54 year old male, Arizona
On 03/20/20, at about 5:57pm, Judy Pieratt called 9-1-1 Dispatch reporting she and her husband, John Pieratt, had been riding snowmobiles on Trail 6, near Moon Mountain, but her husband was now missing. Judy reported her husband as an experienced snowmobile rider, but unfamiliar with the area. John Pieratt was described as a healthy white male, approximately 6′ tall, 200 lbs, last seen wearing black snow pants, a bright green snow jacket, a bright green backpack an unknown colored helmet and tennis shoes. Judy reported her husband was wearing warm layers and had food and water. John Pieratt had been operating a black Ski Doo Summit snowmobile.
Two DCSO Deputies and 11 DCSO Search and Rescue Volunteers responded to assist with a search for John Pieratt. DCSO SAR Volunteer teams consisted of seven snowmobile team riders, two air operation team members, and two incident management team members. AirLink assisted with an aerial search for Pieratt, with the two DCSO SAR Air Ops team members assisting with navigation and visual observing. The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center was contacted and assisted with cell phone forensics, as John Pieratt was in possession of his cell phone when he went missing.
DCSO SAR teams, AirLink and AFRCC searched into the night, covering all of the surrounding snowmobile trails around the area where John Pieratt was last seen as well as monitoring his cell phone for any potential use that would assist in narrowing down his current location. At approximately 2:00am, after covering the mentioned areas without success, DCSO SAR teams were recalled to SAR base in Bend for searcher safety as well as to wait for daylight and better searching conditions. At about 7:00am, two DCSO Deputies and 19 DCSO SAR Volunteers resumed the search for Pieratt. Teams consisted of 10 snowmobile riders, two tracked Argo operators, three air ops team members (to again link up with AirLink for additional aerial searching), three incident management support members and one logistical support team member. AFRCC continues to assist as the search continues at this time.
There are numerous recreators in and around the search area and anyone with information as to John Pieratt’s whereabouts is encouraged to contact Dispatch: 541-693-6911, or in an emergency, 9-1-1.
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is a full service agency that oversees the adult jail, provides patrol, criminal investigations, civil process and search and rescue operations. Special units include SWAT, Street Crimes, Marine Patrol, ATV Patrol, Forest Patrol, along with six K9 teams. Founded in 1916 and today led by your duly elected Sheriff L. Shane Nelson, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office serves the nearly 190,000 residents in Deschutes County. The agency has 230 authorized and funded personnel, which includes 187 sworn employees who provide services to the 3,055 square miles of Deschutes County.
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