Coast Guard rescue swimmer spends night in wilderness aiding injured hiker

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

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

MEDFORD, Ore. — The Coast Guard and partner agencies rescued a hiker Monday after she reportedly fell down a cliff near Grayback Mountain.

A Coast Guard rescue swimmer spent 12 hours rendering lifesaving medical care to the hiker before a hoist could be conducted Tuesday morning.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector North Bend received an agency assistance request from Oregon Emergency Management at approximately 9 p.m. Monday. A 42-year-old female had reportedly fallen about 50 feet and sustained serious injuries.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Sector North Bend launched at approximately 11 p.m.

At 11:45 p.m., the aircrew arrived on scene and lowered the rescue swimmer to evaluate and render immediate care. Due to weather conditions and challenging terrain, a hoist was not conducted immediately. The rescue swimmer remained on scene overnight until an Oregon Army National Guard aircrew aboard a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter arrived to complete a hoist evacuation Tuesday at approximately 11:45 a.m.

The survivor and one other uninjured hiker were transported to awaiting medical personnel in Medford. The rescue swimmer was subsequently transported to Sector North Bend.

“Our immediate goal is to get on scene, evaluate and stabilize,” said Chief Aviation Survival Technician Roderick Ansley. “Our people bleed, sweat and work hard to train for these situations. We prepare for the missions of our AOR [area of responsibility]”.

In the Pacific Northwest, there is the potential for inland search and rescue cases conducted by the Coast Guard. In preparation for these nontraditional Coast Guard missions, rescue swimmers in the region develop and carryout unique training evolution’s focused on inland search and rescue, overnight patient care and terrain navigation.

The Coast Guard asks that persons exploring the beautiful wilderness of the Pacific Northwest be prepared for an emergency. Wear appropriate clothing and footwear, stay hydrated and always have a reliable means of communication to reach first responders.

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