Seven members of the Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue team (SBCSAR) joined the search over the weekend for Mike Herdman, an Arcadia City fireman that went camping with a friend nine days ago. Herdman, 36, an experienced outdoorsman who had camped in the area several times before, was last seen June 13th. He and another Arcadia firefighter-paramedic, Tyler Byars, were two days into a four-day backpacking trip when Herdman left a campsite late in the night to chase after his dog, Duke. Byars told authorities that when Herdman didn’t return, he looked for him in the dark and eventually decided to go for help. It took two days for Byars, who was camping for the first time, to hike out of the forest.
SBCSAR members participate with 90 other mountain rescue personnel from Ventura, Fresno, Kern, Los Angeles and Orange Counties in searching the rugged backcountry approximately 15 miles north of Filmore, California. Team members were inserted by helicopter Saturday morning into Sespe Canyon, just below the location where Herdman was last seen. Unable to land due to a uneven rocky ground, team members used their training to deploy from the aircraft while hovering several feet over large boulders in the river. Once on the ground, an extensive search was conducted from wall to wall of the canyon up to their last known campsite.
After completing their second helicopter deployment to search an area up the river from where Herdman was last seen, SBCSAR was airlifted back to the search command post and released to return to Santa Barbara.
The search for Herdman, while now scaled back, is continuing under the direction of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department.