The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office has conducted a search for a missing 80-year-old mushroom picker in the Trillium Lake area in the Mount Hood National Forest. Several groups of local volunteers participated in the research effort. The man was found safe and sound this afternoon.
On Tuesday, October 19, 2021, a 911 caller reported that an 80-year-old man – Steven Souvannaraj, of Gresham – had not returned from a mushroom picking in the Mount Hood National Forest. He left for the trip around 8 a.m. on Monday, October 18 in a white van and was last seen wearing a blue and black Columbia jacket and jeans.
Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (SAR) Coordinators quickly activated a search mission, setting up a command post in the Trillium Lake day-use area. Search teams deployed to the area to help with the effort included:
• Clackamas County Search & Rescue (CSAR) – deployment of ground researchers, trail runners, K9s and drones
• Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue (PNWSAR)
• Portland Mountain Rescue (PMR)
• Mountain Wave emergency communications
• Multnomah County Search and Rescue
• Washington County Search and Rescue
Souvannaraj’s van was located by the family shortly after 4 p.m. on October 19, about 4 miles upriver from Sherar Burn Road. The subject’s family lent a hand at the research command post – cooperating with researchers and providing scented items for use by K9 teams.
Search teams worked late into the night from the afternoon of October 19 and redeployed to the field at 7 a.m. this morning (Wednesday, October 20). Four separate search teams were in the field by mid-morning, and at least four more teams are expected to deploy to the field later in the day.
Then at 12:41 p.m., a stroke of luck: a passer-by spotted Souvannaraj in a rock quarry in the Trillium Lake area and reported it to CSAR ground researchers. Doctors from CSAR assessed Souvannaraj on the spot and cleared him, and he walked with the researchers to the command post to locate his family members.
Rescuers learned that Souvannaraj got lost after embarking on his own rescue operation. He told authorities he guided another lost person out of the wild earlier – but then had to go back into the woods to retrace his steps after losing his car keys. It was only then that he lost himself.
Source: Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office