Coast Guard, local agencies airlift injured man on Rogue River

Coast Guard Sector North Bend MH-65 Dolphin helicopter file photo.

Coast Guard Sector North Bend MH-65 Dolphin helicopter file photo.

NORTH BEND, Ore. — The Coast Guard assisted local agencies to medically evacuate an injured man Sunday after he fell down a cliff near Galice.

A Coast Guard aircrew brought the man to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center for reported periodic loss of consciousness and an injured leg.

A local fisherman is credited with helping to save the man after spotting him dangling from a cliff, hundreds of feet above the Rogue River just downstream from Galice. The fisherman had to travel back to Galice to call 911, which mobilized rescue teams from Rural Metro Fire, Grants Pass Department of Public Safety, the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit and Josephine County Search & Rescue.

The man was located several hundred feet below the top of the cliff and was instructed to remain calm by firefighters across the river, while others made their way to the scene on primitive roads to Maple Gulch, off Stratten Creek Road.

The victim’s vehicle was found on a remote road leading to the scene. It appeared to be stuck in a high-centered position and the tires had been worn down to the point of deflation from spinning in an assumed effort to free the vehicle. A window had been smashed out and no valuables reportedly left inside.

Due to the remote location and technical difficulty in rescuing the victim by ground, the RMF Incident Commander requested assistance.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector North Bend received the agency assist request from Josephine County dispatch at 8:15 p.m. and immediately launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew.

The aircrew arrived on scene at sunset and hoisted the man off the cliff in the dark.

“Thanks to the U.S. Coast Guard, the mission was completed safely in three-and-a-half hours,” said Austin Prince, chief of operations for Rural Metro Fire. “The rescue by ground crews involving a nearly-vertical rappel would have taken significantly longer.”

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