When word came that a small plane possibly had crashed in the Rocky Mountains in Boulder County, Colo., with two men on board, the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group was called into action. Chuck Demarest, a 30-year member of the group, grabbed his gear to help with the search. It wasn't until later that Demarest found that he was searching for two men who, like himself, were part of the plastics industry.
As previously reported, Charles E. Higley of Page, Ariz., and James P. Fulmer of Diamond Bar, Calif., were returning from making sales calls to custom molders in the area when Fulmer's plane went down in early January.
Demarest, the founder of polyurethane products maker Kryptonics Inc. of Louisville, Colo., said that initially the search centered in western Colorado and Utah. After several weeks, however, radar information put the location somewhere along the Front Range in Boulder County. Demarest, 53, put on his skis, took a radio and a hand-held Global Positioning System device, and started off into a wilderness area, along with a group of searchers.
Using the GPS and binoculars, Demarest, who was alone at the time, spotted the wreckage at about 10,300 feet up on the side of a mountain. It was Feb. 18, five weeks after the plane was reported missing.
``I radioed to the other searchers that I'd found the plane,'' he said. ``I skied to the crash site and was able to reach the wreckage by climbing over some rocky cliffs.''
Demarest, an avid mountain climber who climbed Mount Everest in May 1995, has participated in more than 1,000 searches and rescues with the group.
The most gratifying thing about the rescues and searches is being able to solve a problem, he said. He found another downed plane one week after finding the Higley/Fulmer crash.
``Whether it's actually saving someone or helping to bring closure to a family's tragedy by finding their relatives, I feel I'm helping people,'' he said.
Demarest is chairman and vice president of research and development for Kryptonics, which has a proprietary line of in-line skate wheels. The firm also custom molds PU components for the business machine industry, and employs 220.