On August 22nd, a cell phone call was made to Cal Fire command from a non English speaking male. The man speaking in Spanish said he was close to the flames and in danger. The connection was lost. The area he was believed to be in was searched without success (See earlier post here.) Today, the Mendocino Co. Sheriff sent out an update.
Mendocino County Sheriff Press Release:
On SEptember 8, 2012, 14 members of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue unit conducted a search of the area in and around Boardman Ridge in Covelo, the area the 911 caller was thought to have been in when he called. Two Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates were obtained from two of the 911 calls made. Both of these positions, the areas around them, and four roads leading in and out of this area were searched with negative success.
As part of the investigative effort the caller’s cellular telephone records were obtained from the cellular phone provider. Through these records the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office was able to make contact with a friend of the caller who identified him as Diego Diaz, 37 years old, out of Santa Rosa, CA. The Sheriff’s Office subsequently made contact with Diaz where he related he was alive and well.
Diaz related he’d been swimming in the Mendocino National Forest when the North Pass Fire started rapidly moving east from the Middle Fork of the Eel River near Boardman Ridge. Diaz said he was forced to flee the area, in a south westerly direction just ahead of the fire, and eventually made his way to the road near the Black Butte Country Store where a friend picked him up and gave him a ride home.
Diaz stated he was alone during the incident and had poor reception on his cellular telephone causing him to lose contact with the Cal Fire Dispatch Center. Diaz gave no indication why he did not contact fire officials to report that he’d made it to a safe area.