Members of the Clallam County Search and Rescue team, Clallam County Fire District No. 3 and U.S.Border Patrol work together to bring an injured hiker off a trail. (Sgt. Lyman Moores/Clallam County Sheriff’s Office)

Members of the Clallam County Search and Rescue team, Clallam County Fire District No. 3 and U.S.Border Patrol work together to bring an injured hiker off a trail. (Sgt. Lyman Moores/Clallam County Sheriff’s Office)

Three agencies work to rescue injured hiker

Reed Finrock of Sequim had tripped, pulled his hamstring and was unable to walk out on his own, the Clallam Sheriff’s Office said.

SEQUIM — Border Patrol agents conducting field training in the Port Angeles area helped rescue an injured hiker when the call for volunteers went out from the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office last month.

“It was a great effort between agencies,” said Sgt. Lyman Moores on Friday.

The call for volunteers went out after Clallam County Fire District No. 3 and the sheriff’s search and rescue team received a plea for help for a hiker injured on the Camp Hardy Trail in the Buckhorn Wilderness on Sept. 21, Moores said.

Reed Finrock of Sequim had tripped, pulled his hamstring and was unable to walk out on his own, Moores said.

Ruth Nelson, who was hiking with her neighbor, left Finrock on the trail while she hiked about 2½ miles to the Camp Handy trailhead and then drove 10 miles until she could get a cellphone signal and call 9-1-1 for help.

The fire department was dispatched initially; firefighters asked for assistance from the search and rescue team, which issued a call for volunteers.

Members of the U.S. Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue team (BORSTAR), who were conducting field training near Port Angeles, and about 12 members of the county search and rescue team answered the call.

“I had probably had a total of 20 people,” Moores said.

The officers, along with Jim Whitaker and Kevin Van De Wege of the fire department, carried Finrock out in a litter.

The extra manpower of the two SAR teams meant Finrock was carried out within two hours of the teams’ arrival at the trailhead, Moores said.

“They made a tough job look easy,” Moores said.

Lt. Van De Wege also is a state representative who is running in the Nov. 8 election for the Senate seat in the 24th Legislative District, which covers Clallam and Jefferson counties and part of Grays Harbor County.

Moores did not know Finrock’s condition as of Friday.

He said that at the time, Finrock was not only unable to walk but also was found mildly hypothermic since he had spent hours awaiting rescue.

He injured his leg at about 11 a.m., volunteers arrived in the early afternoon and the scene was cleared by about 5 p.m., Moores said.

Rescuers gathered at Louella Road off U.S. Highway 101 near Sequim Bay State Park and then had to travel 25 miles on blacktop, gravel and forest roads before hiking in to the injured man, Moores explained.

“Clallam County Search and Rescue encourages anyone hiking in the backcountry to be prepared, have enough survival gear to spend the night in the event you were to become injured or lost,” Moores said in a news release.

“Also, make out a trip plan, stick to the trip plan and prior to your departure give the trip plan to a family member or friend, so in the event something should happen and you can’t make it out of the woods a Search and Rescue Team we will know where to start looking for you,” he added.

“When you call out to Search and Rescue,” response “is not instantaneous,” he said.

Those who want to volunteer for the Search and Rescue Team are urged to call 360-417-2262 or go online to the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office website at www.clallam.net/lawenforcement for more information.

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