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July 6, 2013

Helicopter aides in search of man

DUNCAN — Within eight minutes of Stephens County Sheriff’s Office taking the county helicopter into the air to search for a missing man, he was located. But, it was too late.

On Saturday, members with the Stephens County Sheriff’s Office and Velma Volunteer Fire Department organized and were in a search covering a 1,000 acre pasture for a missing Velma man, during mid-90 degree temperatures. The search was initially in the Baseline area, north of Velma, east of Duncan.

The man was discovered deceased, reported Sheriff Wayne McKinney at 6:12 p.m. Saturday.

The man, whose identity was not released at the time of this article writing, was found at 5:57 p.m. through the use of the county helicopter and an organized effort, which included U.S. Cellular providing ping information based on the man’s last call at 2:42 p.m.

The man, believed to be in his late 60s, was working in his pasture, on his tractor, McKinney said. His family had not heard from him for some time, and when they went to check on him, they discovered the tractor idling in the middle of the pasture.

McKinney said his department had been notified around 4 p.m. In addition to the deputies, Banjo, the department’s human tracking bloodhound and another search dog, were being used in the search.

McKinney had made the decision for the helicopter to be used to help speed up the search.

“We found him with the helicopter in about 8 minutes,” he said, but expressed dismay that the man was deceased. “We made one pass and found him in tall brush. Helicopters are excellent for these types of searches.”

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