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Long Island Search and Rescue

                                 "These things we do ...

                                              that others may live"

Long Island Search and Rescue News

Thursday September 6th 2012

Doctor Vanishes on "Fly Fishing" Trip

By MARY MURPHY | @murphypix

8:29 p.m. EDT, September 5, 2012


State Park Police joined forces with Suffolk County cops for a third day, searching during torrential downpours for 76 year old doctor, Jerome Nadler, who disappeared in Caleb Smith State Park during a "fly fishing" excursion on Labor Day morning

"The search is ongoing, they're working very hard," Nadler's son told PIX 11, referring to the teams of police and civilian volunteers who are looking through hundreds of acres of parkland and waterways for the missing doctor.

Nadler disappeared in the south side of the park, off Jericho Turnpike in Smithtown. 

Chief Richard O'Donnell of the New York State Park Police told PIX 11 helicopters are being utilized, canine teams,

boats, divers, and searches that are being conducted on foot. When PIX 11 asked the chief about the depth of the Nissequogue River, which cuts through the park, he responded, "Much of it is fairly shallow....two feet, maybe one foot. Then, parts get deeper, maybe four or five feet." O'Donnell said the search would move to ponds and wetlands that are even deeper, about eight to ten feet.

Dr. Nadler, who retired from his profession after a forty year practice, signed in with the park on Labor Day morning at 6:30 am to go "fly fishing". He parked his car and left his wallet inside. He was supposed to be back by 11 am. When he didn't turn up by 1 pm, rangers notified his wife in Setauket, Long Island.

The "Missing Person" poster being distributed shows a smiling Nadler on a sailboat. He was considered to be an experienced sailor and fisherman. The poster indicated Nadler was wearing fishing waders and boots on Monday, carrying a fishing pole and fly fishing gear. He was wearing a blue shirt and khaki vest. 

His family said he was in good health, although some reports said Nadler has a heart condition. Police are theorizing he may have slipped or had a sudden medical emergency. 

Volunteers from the Long Island K-9 Search and Rescue group showed up at the state park Wednesday afternoon to offer their services. Chris Padden, one of the volunteers, described the terrain of the park: "In this area, it's more marshy, with dense woods, so that's where we'll search." Padden added, "The brush is so heavily wooded that if you're in that area, you have to know where to look."

Dr. Nadler's daughter, Jill, flew up from Orlando, Florida, to wait for word with her mother and brother. The family

was ushered by police to one of the historic homes on the park site. Park police in a different room continued to go over maps of the site to figure out the next spot to search.

Monday May 14th 2012

INBTI Instructor Edwin Grant was dispatched as a member of Team Adam for The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to help coordinate the search.

He requested INBTI Instructor Ed Hajek of the Long Island Search and Rescue Team to respond with his bloodhound and assist in the search effort.

Three days after the child walked away from his group home Ed was able to work a trail from the home to the general area where the child was recovered two days later. His dog's action and ability helped keep the search focused on the area where the child eventually surrendered. This is a text book case where a search coordinator's familiarity with the abilities of a dog team helped with the safe recovery of a child that in this case did not want to necessarily be found.

 INBTI is proud of both of their accomplishments in this case

To read about the case please click here

Monday May 7th 2012

North Fork Helicopter of Cutchogue sponsors a Saturday K9 training event.

Contributor Jeff Cully took this footage of K9 rescue dogs from Long Island Search and Rescue and local EMS volunteers getting used to getting into and flying in helicopters during a training session in Cutchogue on Saturday. Ray Feeney, chief pilot for North Fork Helicopters based in Cutchogue, was the instructor.

The volunteers and dogs started the training at 9 a.m. and ended the session at 2 p.m. This is the third year the program has been offered. Members of rescue teams regularly work with helicopters, but there has been no local training up until this program.

“The basics are to teach EMS personnel how to work around the helicopters, general safety and to get the dogs used to helicopters,” Cully said. “Some people cannot handle helicopters and the same goes for the dogs.”

Read the full story and see pictures, click here.

Mon June 6th 2011

Unleash the Hounds_Article in Newsday

For PDF version of this article Please click here

In the News _Serial Killer on Long Island??

 Interviews with Chris Padden, Team Leader of Long Island Search and Rescue

News 12 Long Island!

News 12 Video

Man drowns, friend rescued from Laurel Lake

Canoe capsized while pair were fishing

By Julie Lane

A 42-year-old Shirley man perished in icy waters in Laurel Lake, Mattituck, last Thursday after the canoe from which he was fishing capsized. A second man was rescued.

Relatives of Christopher Borrelli identified his body Friday night, according to Southold Police Capt. Martin Flatley. He was reportedly fishing with 29-year-old John Vanderwolf of Center Moriches just after 5 p.m. on March 6, when their canoe capsized.

Mr. Vanderwolf was able to swim to shore with the help of Mattituck firefighter Randy Wells. He told police that when he first surfaced in the icy cold water, he looked for Mr. Borrelli, but didn't see him. A witness, Robert DeHayes of Port Jefferson, who was fishing at Laurel Lake at the time, heard the men's cries for help and called 911. He told police and rescue workers from the Mattituck Fire Department that he had seen both men swimming toward shore, but that when he returned to the site after calling police, he could see only one swimmer.

Mattituck Fire Department EMTs treated Mr. Vanderwolf at the scene and transported him to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment of hypothermia from exposure to the frigid waters. Mr. Vanderwolf told police he and Mr. Borrelli had been fishing for several hours at the time the canoe overturned.

Mattituck Fire Department member Leonard Llewellyn told The Suffolk Times that neither man had been wearing a life jacket and there didn't appear to have been any aboard the canoe. He speculated that had the men stayed with the boat after it overturned, the tragedy might have been averted.

Divers from the Southold Town and Shelter Island police departments, members of the Riverhead Police Department, Southold bay constables and firefighters from Mattituck, Cutchogue, Southold, Greenport and East Marion participated in the search, assisted by the Suffolk County Police aviation unit. They searched the area for more than three hours Thursday night, according to Mattituck Fire Chief Brian Haas. But darkness and the icy water finally forced them to abandon the effort, which resumed Friday morning with Riverhead and Southold police divers and Suffolk County Police participating, Capt. Flatley said.

Detective Harned credited a volunteer group, Long Island Search and Rescue, with assisting in the recovery along with what he called the group's "cadaver dogs."

Brookhaven Technical Rescue Task Force called to assist search

By BILL XIKIS Senior Correspondent

1st Responder Network

Story Number 063009122

WADING RIVER, NY - On June 2, 2009 at about 10:45 a.m. the Brookhaven Technical Rescue Task Force (BTRTF) was activated (through Suffolk County Department of Fire Rescue and Emergency Services) by the Riverhead Police Department for a Level 1 wilderness search response. This was suggested to the PD by Chris Padden of Long Island Search and Rescue who was already on scene with his group. Selden Fire, Holtsville Fire and SUNY Fire Marshals responded with a total of thirteen to Wildwood State Park in Wading River, tent camping area Echo.

The Task Force was split into five groups; two members at Command, two with a LISAR bloodhound and three search groups of three members each.

The three search groups were given a color coded path and did a search to each side of the path. This totaled over ten miles of pathway.

At one point as groups were reporting their progress and location LISAR Chris Padden called in a report of a found sweatshirt on an unmarked path in the northwest corner of the park. One search group was back at staging getting rehab, one was returning, and one was completing its search area. The bloodhound group was requested back to the CP were Riverhead PD was waiting to take them to the area Chris Padden was in. The dog would be used to see if the sweatshirt was the missing persons. We had other articles of his clothes at his camp site.

BTRTF member Brain Yoos was pulling into the parking lot when a waiting Park Police vehicle spotted the missing man walking out of the woods. A radio call came in from them requesting EMS and additional PD.

This whole incident started at 6:00 a.m. as a domestic dispute were this individual sliced his wrists and disappeared into the woods. Once it was confirmed to be the missing individual, BTRTF was dismissed.

By Bill Xikis

Sue and K-9 Baird from Long Island Search and Rescue. A wilderness SAR group.

Rescue dogs put on a show at town shelter

By Brian Bossetta

Aug 3, 09 1:20 PM  

Hank goofs off with China, a puppy vaccinated at the shelter Saturday.<br><center>Photos by Brian Bossetta</center>

Hank goofs off with China, a puppy vaccinated at the shelter Saturday.

Photos by Brian Bossetta

Chuck Kraft hid in the patch of woods across from the Southampton Town Animal Shelter as Tow, a bloodhound from Long Island Search and Rescue, his slobbering jowls and flopping ears dragging along the ground, locked in on his scent, sucking up every trace. His nose pumped like a vacuum cleaner across the grass.

When Tow finally found Mr. Kraft, a shelter employee playing the part of a lost hiker, he was rewarded with biscuits from his owner and handler, Deb Sardone, Long Island Search and Rescue’s team manager.

Members of Ms. Sardone’s group, a volunteer organization established in 2006, took part in the shelter’s first-ever open house on Saturday. They demonstrated the skills and services the group, and especially the dogs, are capable of delivering to the public.

The open house was the shelter’s first, but according to Assistant Supervisor Christine Russell, probably not the last.

“I’d like to make this a yearly event,” Ms. Russell said.

During the open house, the shelter offered vaccines, heartworm testing and microchips for $15 and served about 40 pets. Microchips are tiny devices, about the size of a grain of rice, Ms. Russell said, that are injected under the skin between the shoulder blades of dogs and cats. When a lost pet is found, the chip is scanned revealing the owner’s contact information. Ms. Russell said about 25 pets got the chips on Saturday.

According to Ms. Russell, proper vaccinations, including those for rabies, allow dogs to be licensed, which state law requires. “Not enough dogs are licensed,” she said, adding that clinics, such as the one held Saturday, give dog owners the opportunity to “do the right thing” while raising awareness about the shelter and the pets available for adoption.

Dolores Kelly of Wading River, who adopted her poodle mix, Courtney, about a month ago from the shelter, said she was “thrilled” with Saturday’s open house.

“I love this shelter,” Ms. Kelly said. “When I die I think I’m going to leave everything to the shelter instead of my kids.”

During Saturday’s demonstration, Ms. Sardone said Long Island Search and Rescue will answer the call from any agency in need of its services, be it for a wilderness rescue or a natural disaster. The group, which relies solely upon donations of money, time and equipment from the community, is affiliated with the Brookhaven Technical Rescue Task Force, which is comprised of 10 fire departments across Long Island.

Along with assisting the authorities with supporting K-9 units, Long Island Search and Rescue offers survival training through the “Hug-a-Tree and Survive” program, which was started in California. The group, which meets every Thursday in Southampton, accepts new members to serve with or without a rescue dog, and provides all the necessary training to become certified. The training, Ms. Sardone said, is quite intense, with classes held on a weekly basis with at least a yearlong commitment to becoming certified. The courses, and the certifications, Ms. Sardone said, are all approved by the National Search and Rescue and the New York Federation of Search and Rescue.

Ms. Sardone said the group is looking to expand into swift water rescue, avalanche and cave rescue.

Sophie Lowe, whose rescue dog, Hank, is a Labrador/pit bull mix, said the majority of the group’s work is finding lost hikers or hunters, but that the dogs have also been called in to find Alzheimer’s patients who have wandered off. The dogs are also capable of finding cadavers, Ms. Lowe said.

Unlike Tow, who hunts on a “trail scent,” Ms. Lowe said Hank is an “air scent” dog. When the dogs are called into action, Ms. Lowe said, they are brought to the “last point of contact” where they pick up a scent of the missing person and follow it from there until they detect the target. For hounds like Tow, Ms. Sardone said, “a misty rain is the best condition for tracking.” That’s because the mist, she explained, holds the scent to the ground. “Too much rain will wash it away,” she said, adding that Tow can pick up a trail in the snow as well. “As he gets closer to finding his target, his eyes get increasingly red.”

Ms. Lowe said search and rescue is like a game for the dogs and they are motivated with toys or food. “They’re like kids,” Ms. Lowe said. “They really enjoy it. For them it’s play.”

Ms. Sardone said Long Island Search and Rescue is always looking for new members who “love the outdoors, like helping people and enjoying learning new things.” She urged anyone interested in joining the group to visit its website, [email protected], for more information.

K9 vols mark 3rd year in service of area agencies

By Jennifer Choi

October 21, 2009 | 03:29 PM

Long Island K9 Search and Rescue needs your support to continue to offer its services in New York and surrounding states.

LIK9SAR, established in 2006,

is a nonprofit volunteer organization that serves fire, rescue, emergency management and law enforcement agencies, according to its website. As a public service, the organization provides voluntary operations utilizing certified search and rescue teams, K9 teams and support personnel to assist with the rescue and recovery of lost, missing or incapacitated persons upon the request of any official agency.

Members Sue Baird and Sue Condreras with their dogs Graf and Jesse at a search and rescue conference in Pennsylvania. Courtesy of Long Island K9 Search and Rescue (click for larger version)

On Saturday, Oct. 24, from 11 am to 4 pm, the volunteer group will host a Meet and Greet fundraiser at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead where attendees can enjoy food, demonstrations, raffles, a Chinese Auction and more for a donation of $10, said LIK9SAR Team Leader Chris Padden of Medford. Volunteers spend most of their time training dogs but also host fundraisers because "everything we do is 100 percent out of pocket," Padden said, noting the group raised about $1,500 last year at the first Meet and Greet event.

With a core group of about 20 members from all across Long Island, each search and rescue team consists of a highly-trained search dog and handler, according to Padden, who has 18 years of K9 training experience, some of which were spent working with the American Kennel Club and the U.S. Coast Guard. Weekly training sessions are held to help handlers and their dogs become certified by national organizations, the team leader said.

The application to become a member of the volunteer group is available at While there are no restrictions on eligible dog breeds, all participating canines must be able to perform searches in both the wilderness and urban settings, Padden said. Dogs over the age of 2 may be too old to start training, he added, because it can take anywhere from six months to two years for a dog to become certified.

Since its inception in 2006, the organization's "growth has been incredible" in terms of membership, Padden said. And while volunteers cannot respond to private calls, they interact with fire department and law enforcement officials to assist in every way possible.

On Long Island, LIK9SAR is affiliated with the Brookhaven Technical Rescue Task Force, comprised of at least 10 fire departments and more than 100 individuals. Even though Long Island doesn't have many areas of wilderness, Padden noted that "people still get lost here," citing bikers, hikers, children and those suffering from Alzheimer's disease. "We just want to be a tool to help," he said.

Working together with the Brookhaven task force, LIK9SAR recently participated in a search and rescue at Wildwood State Park in Wading River. Padden said the organizations "flooded the area with search and rescue people" to locate an "emotionally disturbed person," who eventually walked out of the woods on his own after realizing the situation.

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Man and animal pair to become lifesavers

Long Island K-9 Search and Rescue on call


Behind Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead, the wind was strong enough to make a kite soar. Chris Padden, an eight-year veteran of search and rescue work, positioned his Labrador retriever, Kodiak, downwind so she could pick up the scent. Nose down then up, her eyes darting, she crisscrossed the field, sniffing the air to find just the right smell to pinpoint a path to a volunteer crouched in a tent.

For Mr. Padden and Kodiak, such exercises are basic training. Mr. Padden of Medford is team leader of Long Island K-9 Search and Rescue, a 22-member squad that draws volunteers from Lawrence to Laurel and Mattituck and their canine partners: retrievers, bloodhounds, and herding dogs whose superior sense of smell and responsiveness to training make them ideal for tracking missing people.

Mr. Padden, a former volunteer firefighter in Yaphank and North Patchogue, started training dogs for hunt and field trials through the American Kennel Club 18 years ago, progressed to scent work for the U.S. Coast Guard, using dogs to locate explosives and narcotics, and then to wilderness search and rescue, starting Long Island K-9 Search and Rescue in 2006.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO Long Island K-9 Search and Rescue members Sue Baird (left) of Laurel and Sue Condreras of Northville take their dogs Graf and Jesse on a training session in the woods at Laurel Lake Preserve.

"I wanted to do something and 9/11 started the realization that there is a niche to be filled out here," Mr. Padden said. "There's a big lack of this discipline out here in the emergency services field."

The group is part of a fledgling national network of volunteer search and rescue teams -- about 30 exist in New York state -- that work with fire and police departments and other service agencies in response to disasters and reports of lost or missing persons.

On Long Island, their missions include locating hikers, hunters, and mountain bikers who lose their bearings in nature preserves or the Pine Barrens; young children who wander out of backyards into the woods; Alzheimer's patients who leave their homes and become disoriented; dementia patients who walk away from retirement homes; and emotionally disturbed, disconsolate people who seek solitude in the woods, Mr. Padden said.

"On Long Island, there's not that much land to cover," said Sue Baird, a Laurel resident who volunteers with her German shepherd, Graf. "But if you're looking for somebody who's despondent or a child, you don't have that much time to play with."

Recently, the team helped locate a suicidal man in his 20s who had wandered into Wildwood State Park in Wading River. Canine search and rescue volunteers combed the woods and bluffs leading down to Long Island Sound, and emergency teams flooded the area with search lights and loudspeakers until the man walked out.

Last year, Mr. Padden and Kodiak went out on a marine rescue boat on Laurel Lake to locate the submerged remains of a drowned canoeist -- and his surviving partner, who had made it to shore.

Search and rescue work attracts a certain type of person, Mr. Padden explained.

"If your response is to see a burning building and run away, you're human. If you see a burning building and want to run in and help, you're a candidate for search and rescue."

The team gathered Oct. 24 at Martha Clara Vineyards to demonstrate their skills, attract new recruits, and raise money to support their efforts. The event brought in $2,300 -- about enough to cover a new member's training, equipment and certification costs for a year and a half, Mr. Padden said. The state legislature is weighing a bill that would make volunteer search and rescue teams in New York state accredited emergency service agencies, meaning the state would pay their expenses.

Sue Condreras of Northville, a surgical physician's assistant at Peconic Bay Medical Center, joined after attending a fundraiser in 2008 with her 18-month old German shepherd, Jesse. For years, Ms. Condreras had volunteered with ambulance services in Riverhead and Huntington.

"It's in my nature to want to help people. This way I get to combine my love of dogs with my love of volunteering," she said. "There's an adrenaline rush to it, and it feels good to help others."

"It's amazing. It's moving. And it's very rewarding," added Ms. Baird, who along with Graf joined three years ago. Ms. Baird, who worked as an EMT for ambulance services in Bay Shore, Southampton and Hampton Bays, said the searches can be stressful, but at the same time are a source of enjoyment for her dog.

"It's the best game in the world for him. If I put on something black (the color of the team's uniform) just to go to work, he's gets all excited. He's ready to go."

Retrievers and herding dogs, such as German shepherds and border collies, typically locate missing people by air-scenting -- smelling the air for the presence of humans. The dogs can find a specific person after given an article of clothing to sniff. Ground-tracking dogs, such as bloodhounds, can sometimes smell the handle of an abandoned car, then follow the scent of a person's boots in grass or dirt or leaves while tracking through fields or woods, Mr. Padden said.

The teams follow a particular search protocol when called to action. Age, sex, recreational activity, known personality characteristics, last place seen, and point of entry into a secluded area are important pieces of the puzzle.

For instance, a young person travels a lot quicker on foot than an old person, covering a greater distance in a shorter period of time. Children five or younger soon become frightened when lost and typically seek cover under logs or brush, curling up in the fetal position. Teenagers, on the other hand, have more confidence in their skills and try to walk out.

People contemplating suicide seek quiet and solitude, and can often be found when a remote area, flooded with sound, lights, and rescue workers, no longer offers a sufficient level of privacy, Mr. Padden added.

Training for such work encompasses CPR; wilderness first aid class, survival skills, and search tactics; crime scene preservation; incident command procedures; and analyzing human behavior patterns that have emerged from nationwide rescue data. The group meets once during the week and practices with their dogs at Southaven Park in Mastic on weekends.

"If you have an interest in the outdoors, it's something you can fit right into. It's taking a hobby to an extreme level, where you can provide help to other people," commented Craig Tupot of Lindenhurst, a certified man tracker who assists the group.

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