Father and son trapped on cliff following ill-fated rope rescue

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Fort Worden Cliff Rescue Photos 004

Courtesy East Jefferson County Fire and Rescue

PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. — Rescue teams saved a father and son from a treacherous bluff late Tuesday night near Fort Worden after the teen fell down a steep cliff and the father attempted an ill-fated rope rescue.

The boy, 15-year-old Zach Miller, left a family campsite shortly after 8 p.m. in an attempt to wander through the old military batteries on the fort near Port Townsend. According to Miller’s family, he fell about 100 feet down a steep bluff near Tolles Battery, the site of many previous rescues.

The boy came to rest unharmed on a small outcropping. His parents contacted him via cell phone around 9 p.m. and he told them he was stuck on the cliff.

The family found the boy and his father, Bill Miller, attempted to rescue him with a rope. However, the rope was too short and and the elder Miller ended up trapped on the bluff, about 75 feet down and 30 feet to the east of his trapped son, East Jefferson County Fire and Rescue said. That’s when the boy’s mother contacted a Fort Worden park ranger who called 911.

Fire and rescue crews arrived on the scene at 10:29 p.m. and rappelled down the cliff and attached a harness to both Zach and his father. They were hoisted to safety.

Firefighters from Naval Magazine Indian Island and Port Ludlow Fire and Rescue assisted in the rescue efforts.

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