Glad to hear all ended well also, sorry about your hellish experience but you get to file that one away as a survival story. Video was not linked anymore, but I didn't need to see it with the story spelled out... interesting thread to read through.
I'm no one to judge who should be rescued for what cost, but it sounds to me like you all had considered a lot of info before you made your decision to go out, and s*it happens.
I do like this topic of rescue as it has come up in conversations here on Maui recently. I think every situation should be judged separately by a court or something if there is $10K involved in the cost. Most people want to avoid putting themselves in harms way, but other people put themselves in bad situations either knowingly or ignorantly, sometime repeatedly. I think certainly those people should have to pay for rescue, if the individual circumstances bear it out. But having a system that actually can judge individual circumstances with results that are just is a bit of a naive notion.... at least here in the U.S. from where I'm sitting...
I could further debate against pubic funded rescues in this way: I think roadways are different situation, but when you enter the wilderness, big water and the like, you have to take responsibility for your self, and thus be prepared to pay if you fail in survival circumstances and have no one else to rely on but the US Gov to bail you out. These are places that if you choose to recreate and adventure, knowing that if something went wrong, you would have to rely on others to save you. And unless you have arrangements with another party before such adventures or get lucky that another party can help you randomly, then you know our last chance is relying on The Man. Not to say they shouldn't be to rescue you at all (different argument), but they should notify you when you are being rescued that you will pay or owe them for saving your life. I don't have any political or economic trip about spending on public services and spending liberally, but in our society our pursuits in the wilderness are largely for individual recreation, so why make others pay for that?
If you are bringing all of this gear to call for rescue and locate you by GPS, etc etc, then it's clear you are aware of the fact that you might need rescue... thus the idea of adventure insurance for this purpose makes some sense, though I hate insurance too. Especially the mandatory kind.
Again, I'm not trying to judge anyone's individual circumstances in why you needed public rescue services.. I might need rescue one day too and I'm telling you now I would feel ashamed if it happened but I would take the help to save my life and I would not offer to pay for it afterwords. But my attitude about wilderness adventure is buy the ticket, take the ride. Don't depend on anyone but yourself and who you chose to venture with for help, financially or otherwise.
I'll repeat that to myself over and over again as the tradewinds blow me on a long ride from Hawaii to Tahiti one day
Funner topic to discuss than live through. Glad you made it back.