After the great news that his wife and two daughters were found alive and safe after several days, the discovery of James Kim's death is a very sad end to the story of a family who went missing on a very typical-sounding road trip. [Of course, it's only the end of the story from a news/search perspective. For the Kims and their family and friends, it's also/more importantly the beginning of a very difficult phase of their lives.]
From the reports I've read--and I've missed most of them because of travel--Kim sounds like a smart, conscientious, and resourceful dad who was determined to help save his family. His wife Kati demonstrated the same attributes herself.
If the Kim's tragedy resonates strongly with people beyond those who knew them, it's not just because we can imagine this kind of accident happening to us. It's because we imagine we'd want to do exactly the same thing in Kim's situation. The notion of just sitting and waiting to be rescued, however wise it appears in retrospect--or at least in this specific situation--just doesn't sit well with most guys, who want to do something to help their families. It's certainly what crosses my mind.
One other practical thing that crosses my mind, is being prepared, not for a tragedy, necessarily, but for a plausible range of unforeseen situations. Mormons get a lot of press for food storage, the church's recommendation that you keep a one-year supply of food, money, everything, on hand to support your family if necessary. What doesn't get as much attention is the idea to keep a 72-hour kit on hand: a portable bag of food, water, formula, diapers, socks, money, copies of important papers, etc. in case of whatever.
It's an idea a lot of people in New York embraced after September 11th and that ridiculous duct tape/anthrax scare. Anyway, we have kits like that in our houses, and in the trunk. When we get back to the US, you can bet that I'll be checking them to see if they're up-to-date. [My guess is, we're off by at least two diaper sizes.]
James Kim found deceased [cnet, sounds like a headline by a friend who didn't want to write "dead"]
LDS Church site: preparing for home emergencies and natural disasters [providentliving.org]