Rescue Efforts Are Underway for Paraglider Who Disappeared While Flying in Nevada
An aerial and ground search is currently underway for James "Kiwi" Oroc after he went missing on Saturday
A donation page is hoping to raise funds to help locate a beloved New Zealand paraglider who disappeared in Nevada over the weekend.
According to a GoFundMe set up on Monday, James "Kiwi" Oroc went missing since while paragliding on Saturday afternoon. His last known location was tracked southwest of Eureka, an update on the page said.
"James Kiwi Johnston is a big heart, big soul, and a pilot for 30 years, well known on the scene in USA and his native NZ," Cross Country magazine, to which Oroc has contributed for years, said on social media. "He has gone missing while flying in Nevada — last tracker ping was from 14,500ft on Saturday afternoon. There is a 'huge crew' of search and rescue and pilots converging on the area right now, with three aircraft already in the sky."
"We hope he'll be walking out with one hell of a story," the magazine continued in their post.
The outlet said rescue efforts have been hampered by fires, likely referring to the blazes in California that have spread smoke over Northern Nevada. To worsen matters, storms are expected in the area, they added.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the GoFundMe page, the search is being assisted by the Eureka and Washoe County County Sheriff’s Office. A search party came up empty after searching Oroc's last known location, and authorities believe Oroc may have dropped his GPS tracking device during the flight.
The rescue operation's donation page has raised nearly $80,000 as of Wednesday afternoon, and funds will be used to purchase fuel and other supplies in efforts to find Oroc. A recent update to GoFundMe stated he may have had a white reserve parachute with him during the flight.
"He's been a friendly big personality in paragliding for 30 years," a description on the page reads. "Originally from New Zealand, he lived in Jackson Hole and more recently New Orleans in between flying adventures."
In addition to his magazine articles about paragliding, the New Zealand Herald said Oroc has written three books about the use of psychedelics.
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Oroc also traveled to Peru in 2011 to help in rescue efforts for Xavier Murillo, who was eventually found dead after a paragliding flight. Oroc wrote about the experience in Cross Country.
"After a long week of difficult organization and interface with various groups on at least two continents, the news that Xavier’s body has been discovered has been received with a mixture of sadness, relief, and exhaustion here in Huaraz," Oroc wrote in an article of the search.
"After an apparently false report had him flying high over Huaraz on the day of his disappearance," he continued. "I personally had still held hope that he might somehow still have been alive; news of his death has left me feeling empty and hollow, an effect that I am sure many of his friends are also feeling now."