Thursday, December 07, 2006

Daddy, Husband, Son, Co-Worker and Friend = James Kim

James Kim with Family

Many of us here in Silicon Valley, the San Francisco Bay area have been following the stories about the Kim family. James Kim, an editor and video personality at CNet, is one of our own local technology geeks.

They lost their way on the way home from a Thanksgiving holiday trip from Seattle Washington to Tu Tu' Tun Lodge at Gold Beach on the Oregon coast. Apparently they missed their original turn off of highway 5 and thought NF-23 road looked like a viable option. Unfortunately the area has a bunch of side roads and logging trails, so they understandably got off the main road and go lost.

The good news is that
Carson Helicopter Services Inc., hired by Mr. Kim's father found Jame's wife Kati and daughters Sabine and Penelope OK. Kati literally kept her kids alive with mother's love.

Kati Kim with daughter

She breastfed her young daughters during the nine day ordeal when their car was stuck in the snow. I'm so proud of her resourcefulness and strength to get them through the nightmare.

I initially heard about James Kim situation through one of my CNet newsletter subscriptions on Monday, December 4th. I followed every twist and turn through the sad conclusion yesterday afternoon. It was heart breaking to read that Mr. Kim was
found within a mile of the family car, but there's no way he could have reached them directly from where he was found.

Area Body Found

Uploading James Body

Given the terrain, it's a wonder they found him and got his body out at all.

There were several good sites where people shared messages of hope, gave the local, search and rescue point of view plus offered advice about what people should do if in the same situation.

Since the Kim girls are so young, I have high hopes that they'll be able to recover from what happened to their family this holiday season. Perhaps Kati's stores, Doe SF and Church Street Apothecary (very cute stores, by the way) can carry them through without James' income. Happily, James job required him to be video taped a lot over the years. That legacy of images and sound of his voice should help Penelope and Sabine get to know their father over the years.

Excellent post from Seattle Times blog. I agree whole heartedly. I always thought that if Kati was as skinny as her husband, James, no way she could have kept breastfeeding so many days.

It was painful to watch the sky turn dark and read the news that the rescue teams had to pull back for the night. To think of James Kim out there alone in the dark, with the freezing cold setting in, starving (and he looked like a skinny guy to begin with), in wet clothes, and -- not knowing that his family was safe -- plunging ahead through poison oak, icy water, heavy brush, treacherous ravines, because he was carrying the weight of his family's survival. His will to save his family propelled him forward until his body was completely overcome by the harsh conditions it had been subjected to, the temperature inside of him dropping steadily, down, down to a pilot light, down to a flicker, and then was gone. To lose that kind of a person is a loss to our society. And that just two days, a rescue two days earlier would have made such a difference. It's so sad.Who knows how many lives his story will save? Because this could have happened to almost any city slicker, a scary fact that is resonating with many readers. Those of us without emergency supplies in our car are now much more likely to be prepared.I will never be able to hear another story of people lost in the snow without thinking of this man's ordeal.
Posted by Anna K. at 03:54 PM, Dec 07, 2006

Stranded Father's Heroic Last Hours
by Peter Fimrite

Grants Pass, Ore. -- James Kim put himself through a desperate ordeal, climbing down a ravine over boulders and logs, through nearly impenetrable brush, and in and out of an icy creek, in what one rescue leader called a "superhuman" effort to save his family.

In the end, Kim's circuitous hike took him to within a mile as the crow flies from the spot where he had left his stranded family in their car. Rescuers said that if he had continued down the road in the direction he was driving when the car became stuck on Nov. 25, he would have reached a lodge and almost certain safety.

Kim died after picking his way nearly to the end of the steep, 5-mile canyon in the Siskiyou National Forest west of Grants Pass. Wearing tennis shoes, a jacket and sweater, he had left his family on Saturday, following a logging road back the way the family had come, winding around a ridge, first south, then west.

"I can only describe him as an extremely motivated individual," said Joe Hyatt of the local Swift Water Rescue Team, which tracked him along the creekbed. "There were areas where the only option for us to pass through was to enter the water and physically swim."

Kim was almost certainly dripping wet. It's not known whether he realized he was approaching the Rogue River, but authorities said he wouldn't have found civilization even had he made it to where the creek empties out.

"Based on what the searchers were describing, the terrain they were working in, it seems superhuman to me,'' Anderson said of Kim's effort.

A helicopter crew spotted Kim's body in the creek at a place where the terrain becomes impassable on both sides because two sheer cliffs line the water.

"He was probably too weak to get back up out of there," Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters said.
"I admire his effort, I truly do," Winters said. "He has a lot of intestinal fortitude. He comes from the city without a lot of outdoors experience, and he was thinking on his feet, he was very meticulous. ... He had a strong will to survive."

From: ""
Sent: Tuesday, December 5, 2006 9:01:42 PM
Subject: Photographs Taken During Tuesday's Aerial Search for Missing James Kim

News Release from: Oregon State Police
Posted: December 5th, 2006 8:56 PM
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The attached photographs were taken by Oregon State Police while accompanying a helicopter crew during Tuesday's search for missing James Kim who was last seen leaving his car on Saturday, December 2, 2006 at 7:45 a.m.

The photographs are not the best quality but do depict the terrain and include a couple photographs of searchers being lowered down into the Big Windy Creek area to assist with the search.

These photographs may be used by media for reporting on this story.