Anita Benitez of Port Angeles is hoisted to safety by a Mount Rainier National Park helicopter crew. (William Morris)

Anita Benitez of Port Angeles is hoisted to safety by a Mount Rainier National Park helicopter crew. (William Morris)

Hiker treated for fall on Olympic National Park’s Pyramid Peak

The 38-year-old fell above the large slide area on the trail near Lake Crescent and was transported by helicopter.

LAKE CRESCENT — A 38-year-old hiker has been treated and discharged from Olympic Medical Center after a fall on Pyramid Peak Trail.

Anita Benitez of Port Angeles was hiking with a group of friends Sunday when she fell above the large slide area on the trail near Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park officials said.

Benitez was hoisted to safety by a Mount Rainier National Park helicopter crew.

Two first-responding Olympic National Park rangers, both of whom are emergency medical technicians, provided emergency medical aid to Benitez, park spokeswoman Barb Maynes said.

“Because of the patient’s location, a carryout rescue was not possible,” Maynes said in an email.

“There is no place to land a helicopter in the area either, making a helicopter hoist the best way of rescuing the patient.”

An available Mount Rainier helicopter crew landed at Lake Crescent Lodge to prepare for the hoist, then flew across the lake to Pyramid Peak.

Benitez’s hiking companions, who had rendered immediate aid, helped transport the patient to the hoist site, Maynes said.

A Mount Rainier National Park ranger was lowered from the helicopter and hoisted Benitez off the mountain and back to Lake Crescent Lodge, where a Clallam County Fire District No. 2 ambulance was waiting, Maynes said.

A witness who took photographs of the rescue operation said Benitez had apparently injured a leg or an ankle.

An OMC spokeswoman said Tuesday that Benitez had been treated and discharged from the Port Angeles hospital.

Coast Guard helicopter crews have occasionally rescued injured hikers from the park and other jurisdictions on the North Olympic Peninsula.

“The elevation and terrain of Pyramid Peak made this rescue outside the capabilities of the USCG helicopter,” Maynes explained.

“The Mount Rainier helicopter is designed and maintained to be able to perform at high elevations, as its primary work is search and rescue on and around Mount Rainier.”

________

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@ peninsuladailynews.com.

Anita Benitez is assisted by a Mount Rainier National Park helicopter crew after she was injured on the Pyramid Peak Trail. (William Morris)

Anita Benitez is assisted by a Mount Rainier National Park helicopter crew after she was injured on the Pyramid Peak Trail. (William Morris)

A Mount Rainier National Park helicopter takes off to help injured hiker Anita Benitez on the Pyramid Peak Trail. (William Morris)

A Mount Rainier National Park helicopter takes off to help injured hiker Anita Benitez on the Pyramid Peak Trail. (William Morris)

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