ELKINS, W.Va. — Two men and a boy reported missing since Sunday when they failed to return from a fishing trip to Shavers Fork were found Monday evening in snowy woods, where rescue crews struggled to reach them.

The missing trio—Billy W. Wilkerson II, 41, and Ricky L. Rohrbaugh, 42, both of Fairmont, and an unidentified 12-year-old boy—were located around 5:30 p.m. by state police, firefighter personnel and volunteer ground searchers combing the Cheat Mountain area of Randolph County.

Rescue crews used a snowcat-type vehicle to reach the victims, two of whom were suffering from hypothermia and were transported via LifeFlight to Ruby Memorial Hospital.

They were found about a mile from where their vehicle was spotted on Forest Route 92 seven hours earlier.

Spokesman Lt. Michael Baylous told MetroNews the rescue was made difficult because the missing group were found at the bottom of a steep, snow-covered embankment. State police tried to utilize a vertical helicopter rescue crew from Maryland State Police, but the conditions were too windy.

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Comments

  • Local

    The man who found them is named Ivan. He and his wife actually live on that mountain and the help they gave (against the wishes of the state police) was crucial to that rescue. I think they deserve credit.

  • Local

    I was there and this article makes me upset. Mostly because the state police failed. They were incompetent, underprepared, and unwilling to work with volunteers. The same civilian volunteers who actually found and organized rescue for those folks.

  • jay zoom

    glad to hear of the outcome. Praise to the rescue teams and volunteers. personally I would not walk a mile from my vehicle to catch a fish unless it was on flat ground.. Unless I am wrong you go down a hill most likely you have to come back up it. Good luck if there is a next time.

  • Bondo

    I would make sense for them to just follow their tracks back to their truck. Believe me there is plenty of snow left up there.

  • Eddie

    They couldn't make it back a mere mile to their car????

    • Charleston,WV

      Sadly, a lot of WV's outdoorsmen are not in the best of shape. This doesn't surprise me to the slightest.

  • Brian

    Glad to hear a happy ending which is testimony to our rescue operators. I guess we can expect a survivors tale on one of TV shows in a year or two!

  • Larry

    Something tells me they won't get too far from the vehicle next time they go trout fishing, the old bony things definitely aren't worth all that trouble.

    • Charleston

      I agree to disagree. Maybe next time they should be more prepared for there outdoor excursions?

      • Larry

        I don't know, to me, a few measly, bone filled, non-native fish that were raised in a hatchery, and thrown in the water a few days ago, just aren't worth all the expense this caused.

  • David

    Did they catch any fish ?
    What were they biting on?

  • Roswell

    So much is missing. Why did they leave the car and go to the bottom of a steep, snow-covered embankment where it was so difficult to rescue them. The article only leads to more questions.

    • desperate

      They left their vehicle because they were fishing....which was mentioned in the first sentence.

  • Jeff

    Really that's it, has news really come to this, why even bother. I mean come on leave out the plot, why and only highlight the bad and the good of the rescue.

    • S.A.R.

      Most of the time with search and rescue, details only trickle out little by little. You can't very well sit down and have a Barbara Walters-type of interview with someone that is suffering and almost died from hypothermia.

  • Capt Sabrina Haught, Marion Co DHSEM

    All that were involved in the search an rescue did quite an awesome job and should be highly commended. All the way from the 911 center dispatchers that worked so very hard behind the scenes to the rescue crews that responded. Thank you all for a job WELL DONE, and Thank you Lord for your mighty hand of protection.

    • Paulette

      Couldn't have said it any better, Sabrina. We are so grateful of the outcome. The details are secondary to that. A great big thank you to all involved in this rescue.
      Marion County Commission

      • Rob

        Nice work EMS and SAR Teams! You folks are awesome!!!

    • S.A.R.

      Very few people understand the degree of difficulty and personal danger for everyone involved that goes into a search and rescue.....especially when there is still three-four feet of snow on.

      The Cheat Mountain area where this took place is one of the steepest mountains in WV (I think it's 6th or 7th in elevation). Very dangerous and COLD.

      And you are very correct, Captain; all involved deserve commended. One can't appreciate the crews until you're part of them..........or need them.