On Sunday, July 15, two hikers became separated while hiking along the Pleasants Ridge Road trail in Northern Solano County. Richard Kirby, 38, was reported missing around 12:00 pm to the Solano County Sheriff’s Office.
The Solano County Office of Emergency Services mobilized their volunteer Search and Rescue (SAR) team shortly after receiving the report. Solano County’s mobile command center (MC-1) and numerous off road vehicles (ATVs) along with a dozen volunteers reported to Lake Solano Park to begin the search for the missing hiker.
As the operation progressed throughout the afternoon, over 30 SAR team members from Contra Costa County, Napa County and trailing dogs from the California Rescue Dog Association (CARDA) arrived on scene to assist in this search.
Solano County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Brian Travis led the initial response as the Incident Commander which included aerial searches by CHP aircraft. Volunteer Mike Heil organized the ground search effort. A Solano County SAR 3-person team working to install a portable radio repeater and a Sheriff’s deputy made voice contact with Kirby but could not reach him due to rough terrain from one side and a wide stretch of the Putah Creek on the other.
Kirby confirmed that he was okay but stuck in the brush by the creek. Staff from the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office responded with a Zodiac inflatable boat to ferry searchers across the creek. The hiker, entangled in blackberry bushes was found within minutes a few yards away from the water. It was shortly after midnight and he was able to walk out with the aid of the search team. He was then transported to a local hospital for treatment of dehydration.
The Solano County Office of Emergency Services would like to thank the multiple agencies that responded to the mutual aid request. This event highlights the importance of preparedness when hiking in rugged terrain. Always stay together when hiking and bring the proper equipment. A day hike can quickly turn into an overnight adventure, especially if one becomes injured.