WARRENTON, Ore.— A Coast Guard aircrew medevaced a German National who was reportedly injured when he was kayaking and plunged 80 feet down Spirit Falls on the Little White Salmon River in Skamania County, Washington, Saturday.
The MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Astoria hoisted the 24-year-old man approximately 180 feet and transported him to Oregon Health and Science University in Portland with reported symptoms of a broken back.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River received a call from local emergency response personnel through the Air Force Joint Rescue Coordination Center at 5 p.m., requesting helicopter support to medically evacuate the man since the surrounding terrain was too steep for ground transport.
“The terrain and the waters where this rescue took place were extremely treacherous,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Aaron Eckstein, one of the aircrew aviation survival technicians who conducted the hoist. “It was one of the most dynamic hoists I’ve ever done, but the efforts of local agencies and our crew allowed us to safely retrieve the kayaker and ensure he got to proper medical care.”
Once on scene, the aircrew lowered Eckstein and Petty Officer 3rd Class Jordan Gilbert, another aviation survival technician, who transferred the man from local emergency medical responders to Coast Guard rescue equipment to complete the hoist. The crew then flew the kayaker directly to medical care personnel at OHSU.
Little White Salmon River is a tributary of the Columbia River located near Cook, Washington.