Search and Rescue members honored as heroes


— A local group of volunteers got some airtime on national television Thursday morning for rescuing survivors of a Dec. 29 plane crash on Rabbit Ears Pass.

The members of Routt County Search and Rescue were recognized as "American Heroes" on CBS' "The Early Show."

"I just really want to say thanks to them all," survivor Neil Marsh, 42, said in the segment. "I really want to say thank you. If they hadn't gotten to us when they did, we wouldn't be here right now. We would have died."

The segment, which aired around 8:15 a.m., featured the Piper Cherokee's pilot, Lloyd "Skip" Moreau, 53, and Marsh. The third survivor, Steve Palmer, 22, did not appear on camera, although an audio clip of his 911 call was aired.

The plane's fourth occupant, Steve Palmer's mother, 57-year-old Henrietta Palmer, died after spending eight hours trapped under the plane's wreckage.

In the television segment, the survivors commended their rescuers for braving a severe snowstorm at high elevations to reach them.

"They did an excellent job," Moreau said.

Several members of Search and Rescue were interviewed for the piece. Six rescue workers hiked through chest-high snow to reach the site of the crash. Another 30 rescuers assisted with the rescue.

Scott Havener provided CBS with some background information on the crash and the rescue. The answers came easily, he said -- except one.

Havener said he struggled with answering if the rescuers considered themselves heroes after their efforts on Rabbit Ears Pass.

"That's what we're supposed to do," he said. "That's our job."

Steamboat Snowmobile Tours manager Jason Cobb, who was the first to reach the crash site, was featured in the segment.

He described the situation he found upon reaching the site.

CBS aired portions of Steve Palmer's recorded 911 call to the Routt County Dispatch Center and film clips of the three pit bulls that survived the crash.

Joe Stevens of Routt County Search and Rescue said the national recognition is appreciated, but the volunteer rescuers are happy to have successfully completed their mission.

"It's wonderful for us because Search and Rescue is a volunteer organization," Stevens said. "There's just a great amount of satisfaction."

The entire transcript of the "American Heroes: Mountain Rescue" segment is available at Web site.


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