Helicopter rescues injured hiker in Olympic National Park

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News
news services

HOODSPORT — A 61-year-old man who was airlifted by helicopter from Olympic National Park after breaking his ankle was rescued with help from the Air Force as part of a chain of official responses to the mishap.

The hiker broke his ankle at about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday while hiking with eight other wilderness hikers at O'Neil Pass, about 45 miles northeast of Lake Quinault, park spokeswoman Rainey McKenna said Thursday.

The hiker was rescued almost 24 hours later at 7:30 a.m. Thursday by a King County Sheriff's Office helicopter, she said. He was reported to be in stable condition then.

McKenna would not identify the hiker and said she did not know where he was from.

The hiker was taken to Bremerton National Airport, where he was transferred to an ambulance that took him to Harrison Medical Center.

A Harrison spokeswoman said she could not comment on his condition without his name.

Called Air Force

After he was injured, the hiker activated a SPOT satellite GPS tracker that connected with the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, McKenna said.

The coordination center, headquartered at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., contacted the Washington State Emergency Management Division, which contacted park dispatch at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

A park ranger who had been in Enchanted Valley 9 miles east of the hiker reached the injured man at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, McKenna said.

The coordination center and park dispatch sought help from the King County Sheriff's Office, which sent out its helicopter to rescue the hiker.
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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: September 04. 2014 7:20PM
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