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May-17-2009 09:59printcomments

Second Dramatic Rescue Underway on Mount Hood (UPDATE #2)

Rescue personnel indicated at 10:30 a.m. that the patient is being packaged for carry by rescue personnel to the Devil's Kitchen area of Mount Hood.

Hog's Back on Mount Hood
File photo of Hog's Back on Mount Hood

(MT. HOOD) - (UPDATE: 12:15 a.m.) Clackamas County Sheriff's Search & Rescue coordinators at Timberline Lodge report the weather conditions on the mountain are NOT conducive for airlifting the injured climber from the Hell's Kitchen area, situated on the south slope of Mount Hood.

Rescue personnel and Army Guard Helicopter crews say they're concerned with the helicopter rotor vibration that may create additional hazards on the present delicate and unstable surface of the mountain.

In addition, the warmer weather has created some challenges for the helicopter with respect to lifting abilities on the mountain at that 10,000' elevation.

Det. Jim Strovink, Spokesman for the Clackamas Sheriff, says rescuers report that To insure safety to all involved, this patient has been packaged and is being transported down the mountain to Timberline Lodge.

"This patient is expected to arrive at Timberline Lodge in less than 30-minutes. It is expected the awaiting Army National Guard helicopter, awaiting transport in the Timberline Lodge parking lot, will airlift the patient from the parking lot to Oregon Health Sciences University Hospital, in Portland."

(UPDATE: 10:30 a.m.) Clackamas County Sheriff's Search & Rescue coordinators report some comforting information concerning the ongoing rescue effort on Mount Hood.

They say the deployed rescue personnel have arrived with the injured climber and are providing some consoling information about the patient.

This injured climber, who had fallen 500' and initially rendered unconscious, is now conversing with rescue personnel and in "amazingly good spirits" considering that the patient remains suffering from severe facial, arm and leg injuries as a result of the 500' free fall.

Oregon Guard Blackhawk

Rescue personnel indicate that the patient is being packaged for carry by rescue personnel to the Devil's Kitchen area of Mount Hood.

It is from this Devil's Kitchen location, situated at approximately the 10,000' level from where an Oregon Army Air National Guard Black Hawk helicopter is predicted to land and airlift this patient from the mountain. All this is expected to happen in less than 2-hours.

The Oregon Army National Guard confirms that they will support the Clackamas County Sheriff's office in the rescue effort on Mt. Hood using a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

They say the UH-60, which is specially configured for rescue operations using a hoist, will launch from the Army Aviation Support Facility in Salem this morning.

*******************Original report************************

A second rescue on Mount Hood was launched this morning for a climber who reportedly fell 500' while climbing on the Hogs Back – at the 10,600' level – on Mount Hood.

The call came through at 6:12 a.m. and the second Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, Search & Rescue mission was activated as crews headed for Hogs Back.

Detective Jim Strovink with the Clackamas Sheriff's Office says there is reported to be an abundance of climbers on the mountain today.

At least 40-climbers were in the process of ascending Mount Hood when the climber fell this morning, Srovink.

"One person on the scene rendering aid is reporting the fallen climber is alive – conscious and breathing - with serious facial injuries and possible broken wrists and leg," Strovink said.

An additional member of the elite Portland Mountain Rescue group is also in the area of this incident and presently attempting to come to the aid of this injured climber.

Strovink said, "The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Search & Rescue Coordinators are on the mountain directing this intense rescue effort."

At the present time, rescue personnel representing Portland Mountain Rescue; American Medical Response – Reach & Treat Team (RAT) and Mountain Wave Communications are participating in this rescue event.

The Reach & Treat Team (RAT) has been transported by chairlift to the Palmer Glacier.

"From the Glacier, this RAT team is climbing on foot to the Hogs Back area to render immediate medical aid to the patient. It is estimated this RAT team will arrive with the patient in about one hour, or hopefully by 11:00 a.m."

Strovink says that upon arrival, this team will assess the situation and help determine how this injured climber can be safely removed from the mountain.

"One alternative is to airlift the patient from the mountain and that potential medical airlift resource is being considered at this time by the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue Coordinators."

He says additional updates surrounding this mountain rescue will be provided as often as current information is received from mountain rescue personnel.

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