Rescue workers recovered a hiker from Washington state who survived a terrifying 1,200-foot plunge down a ravine on Mount Ellinor, according to authorities.
The US Navy said that a search-and-rescue crew from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island hurried to the Olympic National Forest in response to a distress call received after sundown from a man stating that he could not locate or get in touch with his hiking companion.
The team arrived at the scene and noticed numerous avalanche paths. Utilizing the night-vision goggles, which were necessary due to the darkness, they could make out the peak of the mountain and numerous footprints left behind by the hiker and his companion. According to Lt. Joey Curtis, a rescue team member, they could not determine the final destination of these footprints.
Rescuers started looking at the base of a big avalanche runout about 1,000 feet below the top after failing to locate the missing 30-year-old hiker on the crest of the almost 6,000-foot mountain.
At that point in the search, crew members saw a blinking light close to a boulder field, just beneath the avalanche runout and almost 1,200 feet below the spot where the hiker first fell.
According to Curtis, the crew used a specific method known as ‘direct deployment.’
A member of the crew was pulled down from the helicopter as the chopper lingered over to help the individual.
The crew from the Naval Air Station, who were flying by helicopter, sent a rescuer down to the hiker’s position and, out of concern for potential more avalanches or rock collapses, swiftly lifted him to safety.
The injured hiker was airlifted to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center for treatment of a fractured arm, hypothermia symptoms, and extensive scratches.
According to its website, in 2023, the Search and Rescue team at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island had successfully completed 43 operations, 4 of which were MEDEVACs, 33 rescues and six searches.