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3 Die on MO Trail Due to Exposure

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This is so sad and simply did not need to happen. A little preparing and a few extras pounds to carry could have saved their lives. Darn shame. A reminder to us all...

 

"An Air Force veteran and two of his five children died over the weekend after apparently getting lost while hiking on a desolate Missouri hiking trail amid unexpected low temperatures, officials said Monday.

 

36-year-old David Decareaux and his 8- and 10-year-old sons were found Sunday, a day after they ventured out with their 4-month-old yellow Labrador retriever on the Ozark Trail, about 110 miles southwest of St. Louis, Reynolds County Sheriff Tom Volner said.

 

Decareaux died at the scene, and the boys were declared dead at a hospital after hours of efforts to revive them failed, the sheriff said. Volner said authorities believe the three died of exposure to the elements, though autopsies were planned.

 

The dog was found near the victims and survived.

 

Fox2Now reports Decareaux and his family had recently moved to the area after Decareaux got a civilian job at Scott Air Force base.

 

Decareaux and his sons were staying with his wife Sarah and their three other children, two girls and a boy ages 11, 4 and 2, at a nearby lodge.

 

A passer-by spotted the hikers more than three hours into their journey and asked if they needed a ride back to where they were staying. But Decareaux declined, telling the man they could make it back, the sheriff said.

 

"They just missed their turn back to the lodge," the sheriff said. "By that time, their light played out. You don't have any ambient light down here because there are no cities or towns. When it's dark you can't see the back of your hand."

 

Volner says Decareaux knew the popular trail, which runs through a sparsely populated area of southeast Missouri, but apparently took a wrong turn and was ill-equipped for temperatures that sank from 60 degrees to the 20s as the day progressed. Heavy rain also began to fall, making the trail all but impassable. Decareaux had been wearing only a light jacket, while one of his sons was clad in a fleece pullover, and the other a sweater.

 

Volner said there are no caves or other places of refuge along the trail.

 

Officials at the lodge called the sheriff's department about 7 p.m. Saturday, concerned that the hikers had not returned. A search involving more than 50 volunteers on foot, horseback and in vehicles lasted until about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, when flash-flooding in creeks forced searchers to back off until daylight.

 

The bodies of Decareaux and the boys were found soaking wet Sunday morning, their dog beside them.

 

The tragedy crushed Decareaux's father-in-law, who described the family as tightly knit, "always on the go and adventurous." Decareaux was a doting father and spiritual man who had retired from the Air Force in recent years and was working with the Defense Department in a job he couldn't discuss, even privately, Keith Hartrum said.

 

Decareaux and his wife, Sarah, were married about 14 years ago after a chance meeting that was "love at first sight," Hartrum told The Associated Press. They made the most of his overseas assignments, using them to explore Europe over the past decade, he said.

 

"They had a strong, good, healthy marriage," he said, noting the Decareaux was an experienced hiker "who just got caught up (last weekend) in a freak situation" that proved fatal.

 

"Dave was a great guy, a good father, son-in-law and husband," Hartrum said. "Those two boys were just precious -- smart, very nice kids." "

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This is truly tragic, but it's also infuriating. Help was offered - and refused? And they cite this as a "freak occurrence" and say that the father was an experienced hiker... but he wasn't experienced enough to take potential risks to himself and his children seriously. It's so sad to think what a difference a couple of space blankets, a small flashlight, and something to make a fire could have made for this family.

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It is called hypothermia...anytime the body temp drops below 95 degrees you're asking for trouble.....20 degree weather plus being wet ....it is no wonder they didn't survive. It is truely sad that three lives were lost for lack of planning....weather report for the next twelve hours, a fanny pack with space blankets, candles, food bar and flash light would have cost little but hind sight doesn't count in a shtf situation.

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Prayed for the family this morning..

 

BUT,how bad did the weather get to kill all three in less than 24 hours?

ok Im sorry....but NEVER GO TO THE WOODS UNPREPARIED.......

 

Lows of 20 and lower freezing rain and snow winds 15 to 30 mph they were unprepared the weather reports were calling for just what happened. This was the kind of weather that we get here often where they weather man is truly guessing it could be a dusting or 1/2" of ice on everything no one knows til morning. It's sad, hell I could have been the one to put myself and my boys in that situation, but we would have been prepped for it to come early and been carrying the clothes for the cold and rain. Sometimes we just think that we are better than we are, I think there was some good fog ahead of the front to and here north of there we got less but it went dark fast Saturday.

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This is so sad and simply did not need to happen. A little preparing and a few extras pounds to carry could have saved their lives. Darn shame. A reminder to us all...

 

"An Air Force veteran and two of his five children died over the weekend after apparently getting lost while hiking on a desolate Missouri hiking trail amid unexpected low temperatures, officials said Monday.

 

 

i think this was the clue, "unexpected low temps". so i mean was this stupidity? poor planning? what really?

if he was an experienced hiker then im sure he was well planned for what he thought he would be getting.

no way to plan for everything. i cant tell you how many times ive been out and the weather changed to something

very different other than what the weather man said or from what i could expect from experience.

i wouldnt be so quick to assume this fella wasnt on top of his game. think of how many experts have lost their life

mountain climbing or hiking. many of them still remain to this day where they took their last breaths.

all we know is its a sad sad ending indeed.

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This is truly tragic, but it's also infuriating. Help was offered - and refused? And they cite this as a "freak occurrence" and say that the father was an experienced hiker... but he wasn't experienced enough to take potential risks to himself and his children seriously. It's so sad to think what a difference a couple of space blankets, a small flashlight, and something to make a fire could have made for this family.

 

OC, a perfect example of "it hasn't killed us yet"! Every time a pilot gets away with 'scud running' he figures he's 'good enough' to do it forever and maybe with a little lower ceiling next time. NASA knew that the tiles on the shuttles were being damaged by the foam and ice coming off the external tanks at shuttle liftoff but they had always gotten back with no more than a little damage to the skin of the shuttle, until they killed the Colombia crew. We have seen it over and over until it has become normal - idiots don't learn from near misses. They think of it as proof of how good they are, NOT of how close they came to being Darwin Award winners through their own incompetence and stupidity.

 

If I sound angry, I guess I am. I've lost too many acquaintances to just this kind of juvenile (no insult to the kids, they often know better) behavior and then I'm left to try to explain it to the grieving widow. We are all going to die but I do NOT want to explain to St. Peter why I died STUPID!

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A truly preventable tragedy. I think I'll start a thread under the Wilderness Survival where we can all post our day-hike emergency kits just in case someone reads it and it helps. I always like reviewing other people's kits and looking for ideas for mine anyway, maybe we will learn something from each other.

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OC, a perfect example of "it hasn't killed us yet"! ... If I sound angry, I guess I am. I've lost too many acquaintances to just this kind of juvenile (no insult to the kids, they often know better) behavior and then I'm left to try to explain it to the grieving widow. We are all going to die but I do NOT want to explain to St. Peter why I died STUPID!

 

I understand... and agree. When I was much younger and lived in a very rural part of Montana, my friends and I took the idea of a "designated driver" rather loosely (for example, four or five cocktails spread over a few hours was deemed close enough to sober for our purposes). We figured we were out in the middle of nowhere, so it wasn't as risky as doing that in a city. And the fact that we made it home safely meant we were "right" about it being okay! Looking back, I realize how completely stupid and reckless that was - sure, it was unlikely we'd plow into a pedestrian, but we did regularly encounter moose, elk, deer, and cattle on the road home. Like that couldn't cause a fatal accident for beast AND everyone in the car? And the fact that we were drunk and in the middle of nowhere meant that if something had happened to the car - even just running off the road - our chances weren't good for fixing the problem or making smart, survivable decisions in the middle of the night, in the middle of the woods, in weather where dying from exposure was fairly probable. And there would be no traffic coming by to offer help!

 

Now I remind myself that it wasn't that I was such a great "buzzed driver," it's that I blew through a lifetime's worth of good luck - which means my only choice now is to make good decisions, because if we each have X amount of chances in our life, I've used up most (if not all) of them. If you flip a coin 10 times and it comes up heads 10 times in a row, that doesn't mean that coin toss number 11 won't come up tails; the odds are the same with EVERY flip.

 

Back to the original scenario, I suspect you are exactly right that this "experienced hiker" had a similar history of doing just fine without adequate supplies and planning, and his luck simply ran out. And what a pity that is.

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