Search and rescue volunteers on Friday found the remains of a paraglider who was reported missing in central Nevada nearly a month ago.
James Johnston, a New Zealand native most recently living in New Orleans, was reported missing near Nine Mile Peak in Nye County on Aug. 23.
On Sept. 16, an “observant passerby” driving near the Fish Creek Range in Eureka County noticed an object out of place, later to be confirmed as Johnston’s paragliding chute.
The person contacted local authorities immediately, according to a press release from the Eureka County Sheriff’s Office.
Eureka County Deputies and Search and Rescue personnel responded to the area and recovered Johnston’s chute. Due to the time of day, and limited daylight, Eureka County Search and Rescue resumed search efforts the following day.
On Friday, Sept. 18, volunteers searching the area found Johnston’s body.
A coroner’s investigation by the Eureka County Sheriff’s Office determined Johnston’s died of multiple blunt force trauma, due to a high elevation fall.
Johnston was well known in the paragliding community and also was a journalist, photographer and artist. At Burning Man, he was known as “Oroc.”
“Dressing for 18,000 feet in 100 degree heat in Nevadastan,” Johnston wrote in a Facebook post on Aug. 20, shortly before his final flight.
He lived in Jackson Hole and more recently New Orleans in between flying adventures, according to a GoFundMe page aimed at raising funds for an independent search effort.
Johnston lifted off from Shoshone Mountain, near Round Mountain on Aug. 23 and planned to fly to Wendover on the Nevada-Utah line, according to the Associated Press. He was with two other pilots who reported him missing 24 hours later.
Watts said deputies from three county sheriff’s offices, the Nevada Emergency Management Department, Civil Patrol and “countless private citizens” searched for a total of 4,000 hours, according to the AP.
Jenny Kane covers arts and culture in Northern Nevada, as well as the dynamic relationship between the state and the growing Burning Man community. She also covers the state’s burgeoning cannabis industry (Check out her podcast, the Potcast, on iTunes.) Support her work in Reno by subscribing to RGJ.com right here.