Father, daughter found safe after being trapped on the Black Rock playa

A father and daughter who spent the night trapped on the Black Rock playa west of Gerlach were rescued Christmas morning.

Kenneth Julian and his 15-year-old daughter Katrina were found cold but uninjured Christmas day after spending the night in the desert west of Gerlach.

The family lives in Fallon and had traveled to Reno to spend the holiday with relatives. At about 4 a.m. on Sunday morning father and daughter left for a day of deer hunting along the California-Nevada border and were supposed to return early that evening.

But they got stuck when they drove their 1991 Dodge four-wheel drive into an area that looked dry. The truck broke through the thin crust and sank twelve inches into the mire. The pair stayed by the truck with their dog.

The 12-hour search began after the two were reported missing about 9 p.m. Christmas Eve when they failed to show up for a family function.

About 34 men and women from Washoe County Sheriff's Office Search & Rescue units including the HASTY Team, Air Squadron, and a Special Vehicle Unit were called into action.

"We searched all through night in all of the expected places without results," Todd Vinger, Search and Rescue coordinator for Washoe County said, noting that it was important to determine early if the two had left the area.

The Rescue Air Squadron is made up of pilots from Reno and Stead Airports who volunteer their equipment, expertise and time. One of the three planes used for this search located the pair at about 9:45 a.m. Christmas.

"They were cold but other than that they did pretty well," Vinger said. "They were well prepared and had all of the proper clothing to make it through the night."

The two were brought home to Gerlach and reunited with their family later Christmas day.


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