Search & Rescue Incidents 

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   May 2, 2023

Santa Barbara County’s Search & Rescue team’s highly-trained volunteers have responded to several incidents this month. 

On Sunday, April 16, at around 6 pm, the Search & Rescue team responded along with AMR and County Fire to the Lizard’s Mouth area following report of a fallen rock climber with two ankle fractures. A member of SAR and off-duty ER nurse happened to be nearby and were able to respond quickly to the scene, making contact with the injured subject within minutes and providing an initial assessment of injuries. Once team members and other responders arrived on scene, a plan was developed to extract the subject a short distance to the road for transport to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for further treatment of their injuries.

The location of the incident happened to coincide with that of a SAR team training the previous day, where team members trained to work in tight spaces between rocks and familiarize themselves with the area and determine best access to popular spots for the adventuring public.

“Our team trains over 7,400 hours collectively each year. Each training is a simulation of what we may encounter on a rescue call. It was very unique that just the day before we had trained on the exact scenario as the day’s rescue. I am proud of our team on their successful execution of the rescue and that the patient received excellent care,” said SAR member and Montecito resident Jason Copus

The team was dispatched again earlier this week – along with Montecito Fire, AMR and Santa Barbara County Air Support – to the site of a reportedly dehydrated subject in the Hot Spring pools area. SAR teams were just returning from a Hwy 166 vehicle crash and recovery at the time and diverted to the trail rescue. On arrival, SAR teams included a foot patrol to hike the trail, a 4×4 team to make access as far as possible up the fire road, and a bike team to make quickest access to the rescue’s subject. Fire included foot teams to access the subject via the trail. Teams assessed and packaged the patient for carry out to a SAR vehicle for transport to the AMR ambulance at the trailhead. It was determined that the helicopter would not be needed for transport or hoist due to the injuries found during the assessment.

Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue is a professional, all-volunteer, and unpaid 501(c)3 organization that is community supported by generous giving to provide services to the County of Santa Barbara under the direction of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. To learn about supporting SBCSAR, please visit  


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