New Mexico search and rescue teams are still on the hunt for a missing firefighter who was separated from fellow squad members during a routine call Friday in the Santa Fe National Forest, a search and rescue spokeswoman told ABCNews.com.
Token Adams, 41, an engine captain with the Jemez Ranger District, was dispatched along with two other firefighters to assess a 30-acre fire triggered by lightning, Officer Karen Taiki of Santa Fe National Forest search and rescue said.
“They were triaging. It’s the initial attack,” Taiki said. “They split up on ATVs and were looking at the fire from all angles and trying to figure out the best vantage point. Two of them came back to their meeting place.”
However, Adams didn’t come back to the meeting place and hadn’t communicated via radio, which was unusual for an experienced firefighter and former hot shot, she said. After searching for him themselves and coming up with nothing, the New Mexico Search and Rescue team was called in.
The New Mexico State Police, along with 60 search and rescue groups and 280 personnel, have been searching throughout the night in the Santa Fe National Forest, Taiki said. Rescue teams have been utilizing search dogs and looking by foot, on horse and in the air due to steep terrain.
“The roads out here are like spaghetti — it winds together and it’s extremely confusing and dangerous. There are two- to three-hundred-foot drops. You have cliffs on the side. That’s the kind of terrain we’re dealing with,” she said. “The brush is even so thick they have used a heat-sensing airplane, but there was nothing found.”
Taiki added there are no leads in the search, but that search and rescue teams remain “optimistic.”
“He has extensive training and so we know he has really good survival skills,” Taiki said. “We’re just going to keep optimistic and see what happens.”
Adams is married with one son, and is expecting another child in less than a month, officials said.