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Wilderness accidents and rescues

2013 was a big year for missing hikers, injured climbers and other accidents involving the outdoors.

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This Morning

VIDEO: Interview with hiker who helped save stranded climbers

Local News

3 lost hikers found safe


Whitehorse Mountain

DARRINGTON — Three hikers who were believed lost near Whitehorse Mountain near Darrington made it out of the wilderness and are safe, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said Monday night.

The Skagit County Sheriff’s Office informed the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office that the three had made it out safe.

Earlier, three hikers called 911 around 6 p.m. Monday and said they had lost their way on a trail somewhere near Whitehorse Mountain near Darrington, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said.

The hikers reported that they were not experienced or prepared to spend the night on the trail,  and rescuers were sent out to find them, sheriff’s spokeswoman Shari Ireton said.


rattlesnake lakeSNOQUALMIE –- King County sheriff’s deputies say a man fell to his death Thursday while on a popular hiking trail in the Rattlesnake  Ridge area of Snoqualmie.

The man was hiking with a female friend when they stopped to take some pictures at a viewpoint overlooking Rattlesnake Lake. She told deputies the man slipped and fell off the ledge as he tried to jump to a rock.

Rescuers found the man’s body about 150 feet below the ridge. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities were waiting to notify the man’s family before releasing his identity.

Local News

71-year-old missing on Olympic Peninsula

MissingmanPORT ANGELES, Wash. — Olympic National Park rangers are searching for a missing 71-year-old man who went missing during a three-day trip to the park.

Bryan Lee Johnston left for a planned hike on Olympic National Park’s Ozette Loop Trail Thursday, Aug. 22. He was reported overdue Wednesday morning. Six ground teams and two search dogs began the search late Wednesday.

Johnston has white hair in a ponytail and blue eyes and is 5’10” tall.  Family members describe him as active and physically fit.  He is believed to have been wearing blue jeans and carrying a black day pack.

Anyone with clues or information regarding Johnston’s whereabouts is asked to call Olympic National Park at 360-565-3120.

Local News

Missing hikers located

BootSNOHOMISH COUNTY — Search and rescue crews were looking for three missing hikers that are almost two days overdue from an off-trail hike near Trout Creek Trail.

The hikers were located in the Trout Creek area shortly after 2 p.m. Monday. One hiker was airlifted out of the area and the two other hikers and their dog are waiting to be hoisted out.

The hikers were reportedly lost and did not sustain any injuries.

Dispatchers were alerted to the missing hikers after receiving a 911 call around 11:40 p.m. Sunday from a woman reporting her 52-year-old husband, their 26-year-old son and a 26-year-old friend were 28 hours overdue from their hike near the 14700 block of the Index Galena road.

Search and rescue personnel were deployed Monday morning, and the hikers’ car was spotted near the entrance to Trout Creek Trail.


Local News

Lost hiker died from dehydration, exposure

BootGLACIER — A hiker found dead recently near Twin Lakes in the North Cascades died from dehydration, exposure and blunt-force injuries after several falls, the Bellingham Herald reported.

Brian Proctor, 51, from Concrete, Wash, was hiking with a friend near Lone Jack Mine about 6 1/2 miles northeast of Mount Baker Highway on Sunday, Aug. 4. The two became separated and hiked in different directions, but Procter didn’t return to the Twin Lakes parking lot.

Proctor was found dead in a snowbank near the mine last week, the Herald reported. He appeared to fall several times, and died later of exposure and dehydration.

The death was ruled accidental.

Local News

Member of Polish military found dead on Mount Hood

PolishGOVERNMENT CAMP, OR (KPTV) – A 32-year-old Polish man climbing Mount Hood so he could photograph a Polish flag placed at the summit years ago was found dead near the summit Tuesday.

Officials were notified at 7:30 a.m. Monday that Sebastian Kinasiewicz intended to reach the summit of Mount Hood on Sunday but had not returned.

Kinasiewicz’s roommate told sheriff’s deputies he left about 8 a.m. Sunday. His route was not known, and he had limited climbing experience. He did have water, warm clothing and an ice axe, as well as crampons.

Deputies found Kinasiewicz’s truck parked at the Tilly Jane Trailhead in Hood River County on Monday, and that led search and rescue crews to scour two common routes on Mount Hood that began at that point. They found no trace of Kinasiewicz.

The search was called off Monday night due to darkness, but officials resumed searching the north side and south side of the mountain Tuesday.

The Oregon Army National Guard out of Salem also sent a helicopter, and its crew spotted the body in a narrow canyon not far from the summit.

Hood River County deputies suspect Kinasiewicz made it to the summit before his death, and then fell somewhere around the summit. The mission is now a recovery effort, though ground crews have been recalled to the command post to discuss plans.

At this point, deputies said, it’s too dangerous to recover the body by ground due to falling rocks in and around the canyon.

Kinasiewicz was in Oregon because he was attending training at Northwest-based Insitu, Inc., a company that makes drones.

“Our thoughts are with Sebastian’s family at this difficult time,” a company statement said.

An Insitu spokeswoman said earlier in the day that the company planned to help the sheriff’s office any way it could. No drones were used in the search because the airspace is not approved for the use of unmanned aircraft.

Local News

Overdue hiker missing since Sunday

BootWHATCOM COUNTY — Multiple groups are searching for an overdue hiker who split from his hiking buddy Sunday near Twin Lakes, the Bellingham Herald reports.

Brian Proctor, 51, from Concrete, Wash, was hiking with a friend near Lone Jack Mine about 6 1/2 miles northeast of Mount Baker Highway Sunday. The two became separated and hiked in different directions, but Procter didn’t return to the Twin Lakes parking lot Sunday night.

Whatcom County sheriff’s deputies, search and rescue volunteers and Customs and Border Protections employees began searching for Proctor Tuesday and continued to search through Thursday. He has not yet been found.

Anyone with information on Proctor or his whereabouts is encouraged to call 911.

olympic1SEATTLE — Two Coast Guard helicopter crews from separate units worked together Wednesday to rescue two injured hikers who had fallen 50 feet into a ravine in Olympic National Park, about 30 miles south of Port Angeles.

Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound received notification at about 7:30 a.m. that a personal locator beacon had been activated near the center of the park, a Coast Guard news release said. At the time, there was believed to be a single hiker stranded.

The hiker, a 19-year-old man, was able to establish communications with Olympic National Park rangers using a satellite phone. He said he had fallen into a ravine and his condition was deteriorating.

Rangers determined that rescue crews would have to hike about 12 miles to reach the stranded hiker. So Olympic National Park requested the Coast Guard medically evacuate the hiker just before 11 a.m.

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew was launched from Air Station Port Angeles at about 12:09 p.m.

Another Coast Guard helicopter, an MH-60 Jayhawk from Coast Guard Air Station Astoria, Ore., was in the vicinity of Port Ludlow, Wash., at the time. The crew was diverted to assist in the rescue and act as a communications platform.

The Dolphin helicopter crew arrived on scene and lowered a rescue swimmer and a litter to transport the patient. It was then discovered by the crew that a second hiker, who had sustained minor injuries, was also in the ravine.

Both hikers were hoisted by the Dolphin crew and transported to Air Station Port Angeles. They were then taken by ambulance to the Olympic Memorial Hospital in Port Angeles.

Their conditions were not immediately known.