By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
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PORT ANGELES — A Coast Guard helicopter crew plucked a 25-year-old hiker off a large rock near Shi Shi Beach on Sunday night.
The hiker, who was not identified by Coast Guard officials, had climbed onto the rock earlier in the day, and the rising tide prevented him from climbing down.
He was treated by medics on a nearby beach.
He was reportedly in good condition, said Petty Officer 2nd Class George Degener, a Coast Guard District 13 spokesman.
Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Katelyn Shearer said she did not know the name of the hiker or his hometown.
“Once the case is closed, we are not authorized by policy to release the name, unfortunately,” she said.
Neah Bay medics reported a man stranded on a large rock just south of the Olympic National Park beach at about 8:40 p.m.
An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles was diverted from a mission near Everett and arrived on scene at 9:35 p.m., Degener said.
A rescue swimmer was lowered to a position below the stranded hiker and climbed up to make the rescue.
The hiker was placed in a rescue sling, and the two were safely hoisted into the helicopter at about 9:40 p.m.
Lt. Cmdr. Edward Geraghty, the aircraft commander, gave this account:
“With fog pressing and darkness falling along the rugged coastline, we made an approach to a hover amongst a series of towering pinnacle rock formations and were able to locate and recover the hiker stranded some 50 feet high on a rock above the surf.
“The precise conning commands from the flight mechanic, combined with exceptional airmanship from the co-pilot and physical abilities of the rescue swimmer, culminated in a textbook vertical surface rescue,” Geraghty said.
The mission was the first operational rescue for the Dolphin co-pilot, Lt. Jacob Dorsey, and rescue swimmer Petty Officer 3rd Class Brian Notheis, Shearer said.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at email@example.com.