69-Year-Old Man Rescued After Spending 17 Nights Lost in Umpqua National Forest, OR Wilderness

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Harry Burleigh, rescued,
Harry Burleigh, 69, rescued after seventeen days in the Oregon wilderness.

After seventeen nights in the wilderness, 69-year-old Harry Burleigh has been found alive and rescued by Search and Rescue crews who never gave up.

On Sunday, May 23, 2021, Douglas County Search and Rescue conducted another mission in the area of Calf Creek after Burleigh’s fishing gear was found last weekend. Additional SAR resources were called in from Jackson County, Lake County, and Siskiyou County (CA) for Sunday’s efforts.

At approximately 3:00 pm, a team of searchers from Jackson County SAR located a shelter southwest of the original shelter found last weekend. The search crews called out to Mr. Burleigh, who responded. He was found to be walking and complaining of minor pain but was in stable condition. A Brim Aviation helicopter was utilized to hoist Burleigh from his location and transport him to a waiting Lifeflight helicopter. Lifeflight later transported him to an out-of-area hospital for evaluation.

The Brim Aviation helicopter was utilized to extract the remaining Jackson County SAR team from their position. The other search crews were able to self-extricate.

“This was the outcome we all have been looking for in this case. It is because of our determined Search and Rescue Teams and the partnerships we have with other SAR teams from around the state, that Mr. Burleigh has been reunited with his family this evening. The Sheriff’s Office wants to thank everyone who was involved in this mission.”

– Sgt. Brad O’Dell

Rescue crews found harry after refusing to give up. Credit: Facebook

Burleigh, a fisherman from Roseburg, was reported missing on May 7 after he didn’t return home from a camping trip in the Toketee area of Douglas County. He was expected to arrive home on May 6 but failed to return. It’s believed he attempted to walk into the lakes to fish before heading home, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

Over the course of the search for Mr. Burleigh, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team was assisted by the following entities: Jackson County SAR, Josephine County SAR, Modoc County SAR (CA), Del Norte County SAR (CA), Siskiyou County SAR (CA), Curry County SAR, Klamath County SAR, Lake County SAR, Lane County SAR, US Coast Guard, Oregon State SAR Coordinator, Brim Aviation, Lifeflight, United States Forest Service, Wolf Creek Job Corps. Hotshots, and Bay Cities Ambulance.

Rescue crews would like to remind everyone of the 10 essentials for survival, which include:

  • Navigation (map, compass, GPS, personal locator beacon, etc.)
  • Headlamp/flashlight
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • First-aid supplies
  • Fire (the means to start and sustain a fire)
  • Knife
  • Shelter (tent, garbage sack, tarp, etc.)
  • Extra clothing
  • Extra food
  • Extra water
Umpqua National Forest, OR

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