Wednesday, December 2, 2020
On Monday, December 1, 2020 at approximately 1040 hours, the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office received a report of two overdue travelers that may be driving through our area. The report came from family members, who reported Heidi Tran, 26, Lynwood, WA and Andy Nguyen, 28, Seattle, WA overdue from a trip from Seattle, WA to Glenwood, WA. The couple were reported missing to the Lake City, WA Police Department.
Tran and Nguyen were traveling from the Seattle area to a rental cabin in Glenwood, Washington. They rented an SUV and left Sunday morning and never arrived. The family was unbale to contact them, became worried, and reported them overdue/missing.
A search and rescue coordinator from our office was assigned and contacted family members to help determine a possible route travel. The USFS 23 Road, leading from Highway 12 to the Trout Lake, WA area was determined to be likely, if the couple had attempted to navigate their route via computer.
Throughout the day cell phone trace and other routes were checked with negative results. A request was made through the Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office for the use of a fixed wing aircraft to check the snowbound areas of the 23 Road, north of Trout Lake, WA. At 1703 hours, the couple and their vehicle were spotted at milepost 32 on the 23 Road near Takhlakh Lake, in Skamania County.
Two search and rescue Deputy’s responded with a tracked UTV along with members of the Skamania County Search & Rescue Team with a second snow equipped UTV. Tran and Nguyen were located and brought back to the Trout Lake area. They were not injured and did not require medical attention.
They had followed the directions found via computer or navigation, which led them from Highway 12 to the USFS 23 Road. The rental vehicle, a 2020 Toyota, became stuck in deep snow on Sunday afternoon. An additional 18” of snow fell that evening making it impossible to dig the SUV out. It was learned they were able to ration fuel to ensure they had heat from the vehicle and rationed their food supply.While this incident resulted in the best-case scenario, some do not. Please do not rely solely on computerized navigation. If traveling on forest roads or areas that are not maintained during winter months, please consider changing your route.