Hoax Triggers Eastern Oregon Search and Rescue Effort


Law enforcement in eastern Oregon are not too happy with a man—reportedly playing a prank on his wife—who triggered an all-out search and rescue effort that included a plane and 16 volunteers in all-terrain vehicles. In fact, police are going to bill the man for their work and are considering pressing criminal charges for the hoax.

This morning's Ontario Argus Observer reports that the Malheur County Sheriff's Office went into action on Jan. 8 after receiving a call that a man, on a 10-day hiking trip in the area, was lost. But it turns out that the man, 68-year-old Gene Pratt of Sandy, Ore., was sitting comfortably in a motel room and was playing a prank on his wife, who worried that he might be lost.

"These types of situations we're not really happy about," said Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe. "We had people out in the dark, the National Guard about to take off, and lots of people on slick roads."