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Body found of C|Net editor James Kim

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Just a few hours ago, I seeded a link to a C|NET page reporting that a commercial imaging satellite was going to be retasked to take high-resolution images of the search area for missing C|NET Editor James Kim. That was supposed to happen around 10:30AM PST, about three hours ago. Unfortunately, it was a fruitless exercise.

News broke within the past half hour that Kim's body was located by one of the search parties.

No one was sure that the satellite would be capable of spotting a human being under such conditions, with the area under morning fog and the terrain being very rugged and covered in places. It would have been impossible to spot his foot tracks in the snow from space, though searches had hoped it would help them better plan their searches.

It was a good-hearted effort by the satellites owners, given how expensive and complex it is to retask those satellites.

Kim's family were rescued on Monday still at their car, meaning Kim was out in the wild for at least two to three days minimum before he was overcome by the snow and cold. He left wearing only jeans and tennis shoes, which was a severe mistake.

In a stranded survival situation, the first thing you want to do is leave on foot to find your way to safety, but you should only leave your shelter if you absolutely have to. Kim stayed with his family for an admirable length of time before going in search of help, but he left totally unprepared.

Their car was out of gas, meaning it was essentially devalued in a way we don't often consider when we look at our vehicles. From that point forward, its only value was in what it could provide you to better your odds of survival.

When Kim left the vehicle in just sneakers, he left a rich resource in insulation from the roof, the dashboard, and the seats. The seat covers could be used, and wiring to tie it all together. Hub caps can be used for digging in the snow, and running the vehicle out of gas to run the heater used up a valuable resource Kim could have used for fires while on the move.

While I do not know exactly where Kim was found in relation to his surroundings, I do know he was not found next to the road on which their car apparently became stuck. This was another mistake.

Peoples first reaction is to leave the road in hopes of taking the most direct route to help, often without considering their inability to navigate across multiple days and nights, in blinding weather that quickly saps you of your wits. The best thing to do if you have to leave on foot is to simply go back the way you came. It may be further than going forward, and you may think there is help just over the hills, but you won't have to worry about getting lost and your chances of being spotted by rescuers goes up dramatically by staying on the road.

This is a very sad ending, though it could have been worse if the entire family had succumb to the elements. I can't help but imagine what an incredibly brave but desperate man Kim must have been, and I feel so very badly for his family.

Wilderness survival may not be something we think about every day, but accidents and disasters don't come on a regular schedule that you can avoid.

No doubt, James Kim did everything he was capable of doing to save his family, yet had he had a greater understanding of survival techniques, he may still be alive today.
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The text of this article is Copyright © 2006,2007 Paul William Tenny. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Attribution by: full name and original URL. Comments are copyrighted by their authors and are not subject to the Creative Commons license of the article itself.