Latest Update, Dec. 11th, 2019: Following a very lengthy multiagency search (beginning Nov 29) for missing hiker Rolin Bruno, which included aerial reconnaissance, drone, canine, and ground teams, an operational decision was made on December 10 (evening) to enter into “limited continuous search mode”. This means that the SAR is not suspended, rather it is considered open and once a clue has been discovered resources will be deployed. The following agencies participated in this search: Inyo Search and Rescue, Inyo Sheriff, Kern County Search and Rescue, Kern County Sheriff, China Lake Mountain Rescue Group, Kern County Air Operations, Death Valley National Park, CHP Inland Division Air Operations, Naval Air Station (Fallon), Fallon Search and Rescue, Naval Air Station (China Lake), San Bernardino Sheriff, and CalOES.
HUNTER CANYON, CA. December 4, 2019 – On November 27 (evening), Inyo County Sheriff’s Office received notification by Death Valley National Park of a missing hiker, Rolin Bruno, a 76-year old man from Arrowbear, CA. Bruno planned on hiking up Hunter Canyon out of Saline Valley to cache water for a future hike in the Spring, prior to meeting family members at Saline Valley Hot Springs on November 27. When Bruno did not arrive, family members notified the campground host. Bruno was hiking alone. (It is unclear whether Bruno’s hike occurred on Monday November 25 or Tuesday November 26.)
On Thursday November 28 a severe winter storm impeded search efforts. Aerial reconnaissance was requested for Friday November 29; CHP Inland Division Air Operations initially responded, however a fog layer made flying impossible in the morning. China Lake Naval Air Station was requested to provide aerial support once the fog layer lifted; Inyo Search and Rescue (SAR) members were on board providing additional assistance.
Saturday November 30, 11 Inyo SAR members conducted extensive search assignments in the area. Aerial searching was provided by CHP Inland Division Air Operations. A drone was deployed in order to reach more remote areas and provide additional search information to the team. Due to extremely icy conditions on Saline Valley’s “South Pass”, the team was almost unable to drive out of the search area. Sunday December 1, winter weather disallowed flying or driving into the search area.
On Monday Dec 2, as weather cleared, two Inyo SAR members were hoisted from CHP H-80 into more remote areas high in the search zone to check structures and mining ruins. Additional aerial searching was provided by CHP Inland Division Air Operations with Inyo SAR members on board.
Tuesday December 3, six Inyo SAR members were inserted into the search area by Kern County Air Operations. SAR members from China Lake Mountain Rescue Group drove into the search zone and combed lower segments of the area. Inyo Sheriff’s Office deputies also drove to the sight and conducted investigations at the vehicle and searched nearby mining cabins.
On Friday December 6, four Inyo SAR members were inserted into the upper part of the search area by the Longhorn SAR Team from NAS Fallon, NV.
Aerial assistance has been provided by: CHP Inland Division Air Operations H-80, China Lake Naval Air Station VX-31, Kern County Air Operations Air 5, as well as Naval Air Station (Fallon) Longhorn SAR Team. Ground searching has been provided by: Inyo SAR, Kern County SAR, and China Lake Mountain Rescue Group. Additional support has been provided by Death Valley National Park and CalOES.