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The death of James Kim

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Postby rightstar76 » Sat Dec 09, 2006 1:26 am

Yes, a vandal cut the lock. But even before the Kims' turned on the logging road, the road they were on was being pounded with snow, and, according to one article, Kati said that James had to keep putting his head out the window to see where they were going. In, another news story, Kati said that James had to keep stopping the car and getting out to move rocks off the road. Once they made the wrong turn, the pavement eventually ended. He then drove 17 miles on that road before turning around. News stories report that the Kims' were concerned that they would run out of gas and so they stopped hoping that another motorist would drive by, stop, and help them. At that point, according to Kati, it was 2:00 am.

One of James' co-workers told news reporters that James was a go-getter and CNET praised him as a hyperachiever. I am speculating that until James resigned himself to waiting for another vehicle to help him at 2:00 am, he was confident that he could drive to Gold Beach. Although there were 4 warning signs, snow, and rocks on the road, he wasn't concerned. I think if James had knowledge of the natural world, he would still be alive. A friend of his said James had gone camping, but that it was not the outdoor adventure type. This may explain why James was so confused when he set out to find help for his family. He was lost and may have made decisions based on assumptions that he believed were facts. He must have believed that he was headed in the right direction and that soon he would reach the town. A better map, a little knowledge of the natural world, and James would probably still be alive.

On the issue of public financial donations, the CNET and family websites state that the money will be put into a memorial fund. The family website states that the funds will be used by the family at its discretion. I do hope that the funds are used for charitable and educational purposes. I think that's only fair.



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Postby Trekker » Sat Dec 09, 2006 9:54 pm

This just came out a little while ago. I'm pretty much in awe of the effort.

Dad trekked farther than thought
San Francisco man hiked 16 miles in search of help for stranded family
The Associated Press
Updated: 6:45 p.m. PT Dec 9, 2006
PORTLAND, Ore. - A San Francisco man who was stranded with his family in the snowy wilderness walked more than 16 miles in search of help before he died — six more than originally thought, a search official said Saturday.

James Kim, 35, his wife and their two daughters were about seven miles from a fishing lodge stocked with food, not the one mile as authorities earlier thought, said Phil Turnbull, a fire chief in Josephine County.

A mapping error led to the incorrect figures, but did not affect the search for Kim, Turnbull said.

Turnbull said it was important to “set the public record straight” and “to emphasize the efforts Mr. Kim made to rescue his family.”

The Kims were returning to San Francisco on Nov. 25 and had gotten stuck in snow after taking a wrong turn down a logging road that is normally blocked by a gate. Vandals apparently had cut the lock on the gate, officials said.

Kim’s wife, Kati, 30, and their two young daughters were rescued Monday, two days after he struck out on foot in search of help. James Kim was found dead of exposure in a mountain creek Wednesday.

The owner of the lodge said he didn’t recognize the area as being near his lodge and double-checked.


Turnbull said the vehicle was 6.37 miles farther along the road, meaning James Kim had walked that much farther than searchers first thought.


“Holy smokes, that was superhuman effort to get that many miles,” owner John James told the Grants Pass Daily Courier, referring to James Kim. The newspaper first reported about the error.


© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

I just watched a helicopter rescue today on a local hike; guy may have blown out his knee; was sitting on the trail with some other people; thought maybe he was tired or maybe twisted an ankle. A few minutes later the helicopter flew over and lowered an EMT, secured him, and then the copter flew them off. What a difference if something like that happens away from civilization. It just makes you think.....
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Postby dave54 » Sun Dec 10, 2006 6:32 pm

mountaineer wrote:Well that sucks! My paper today said they drove past signs that said the road could be closed by snow. There is ALWAYS something else to the story.:(


A common denominator in many tragedies is people who knew better continued on into deteriorating conditions, well past the point where the obvious warning indicators were shouting to stop -- Storm King firefighters, The Challenger shuttle disaster, numerous aircraft crashes, et al.

This is a well known phenomenom in accident investigations.
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Postby cmon4day » Mon Dec 11, 2006 1:00 am

A common denominator in many tragedies is people who knew better continued on into deteriorating conditions, well past the point where the obvious warning indicators were shouting to stop


Another way to describe it is a loss of situational awareness.
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Postby dave54 » Mon Dec 11, 2006 1:09 pm

cmon4day wrote:
A common denominator in many tragedies is people who knew better continued on into deteriorating conditions, well past the point where the obvious warning indicators were shouting to stop


Another way to describe it is a loss of situational awareness.


Loss of SA is a related phenomenom. In the examples I gave several individuals involved knew the risks, recognized the threats, and ignored well established safety practices to continue on into increasing danger. Whether Kim knew the risks and continued on or did not recognize/identify the risks may never be known.
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Postby rightstar76 » Mon Dec 11, 2006 10:28 pm

It was more that he probably thought he could make it and that it wasn't that big of a deal, after all, he was a "can-do" person. However, "can-do" without knowledge is like a chicken running around with its head covered. James was very motivated, but lacking knowledge about rural roads in winter, mountain drainages, etc., his motivation was ineffective.
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Postby Trekker » Tue Dec 12, 2006 1:20 am

This was just posted in the past few hours:


Warning signs marked Kim family's journey
POSTED: 2:21 a.m. EST, December 12, 2006
By Drew Griffin
CNN


MERLIN, Oregon (CNN) -- We came to Oregon to retrace the path James Kim and his family took the day they got stranded in the Rogue River wilderness.

When we finally reached the spot where the Kims' car stopped after a long, winding journey, our traveling companions -- Sgt. Joel Heller, Josephine County Sheriff's office, and John James, owner of the Black Bar Lodge -- both had the same exact thought: Why did the Kims continue down such a desolate path when they so clearly did not know where they were going?

Though it is heart wrenching to question the decisions made by a man who died trying to save his family, it is hard not to wonder.

Three times, we passed large yellow signs warning that snow may completely block the roadway.

Eventually, we came to a fork in the road where a tiny sign -- almost invisible unless you actually stop the car and focus on it -- pointed the way to the Oregon Coast. The sign pointed left. The Kims drove right.

This was obviously the wrong direction. It was one lane, no guardrail, no markings, no "winding road ahead" signs, no speed limit signs, no nothing.

During our daylight journey, the road was so hazardous, so covered with snow and ice that a CNN satellite truck operator refused to continue, fearing the truck could go over the side.

The pavement began to break up, then turn to gravel, and finally to dirt.

This was an old logging road used only in summer by lodge owners hauling supplies. In winter, it was not generally in use.

In fact, beginning November 1 a gate usually blocked the road. Somebody must have broken the lock and left the gate open. Had it been shut and locked, the Kims could not have gone down the road at all.

But they did. Twenty miles down that desolate road, James and Kati Kim and their two young daughters found themselves stranded in the snowy wilderness.

By the time we came to the spot they stopped, our four-wheel-drive vehicle was being battered on both sides by overhanging branches and bushes.

This is where the Kims stayed for nine days, and the spot from which James Kim set off on foot on a journey into the Oregon wilderness that resulted in his death.
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Postby rightstar76 » Wed Dec 13, 2006 3:10 am

Yes the Kims' overextended themselves without realizing it until it was too late. Kati is reported saying that they kept driving even after it started snowing. So before they ever got to that junction, they had already decided they were going to continue, despite the snow and the 3 warning signs that clearly stated the road wasn't passable when it snowed. I can only assume that James didn't take these warning signs (the actual posted signs as well as the falling snow) seriously. My guess is that he didn't want to turn around and have to spend hours going back to the right highway. He probably thought that it would take a long time for the snow to accumulate so there was nothing to worry about. He should have been worried, but given his lack of knowledge about the outdoors, it's understandable, though not excusable.
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