Coast Guard rescues 2 missing hikers near Eugene, OR

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. – A Coast Guard Sector North Bend MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew assisted the Lane County Sheriff’s Department in rescuing  two 19-year-old males Saturday reported missing after hiking near Swastika Mountain about 32 miles east southeast of Eugene.

Watchstanders at the Sector North Bend command center received an agency assistance request from the Oregon Office of Emergency Management that two individuals went camping on the mountain on or around Christmas Day and did not return from their trip on Wednesday, Dec. 29. Lane County sheriffs dispatched ground parties to search after receiving a report that two hikers went missing on New Year’s Eve.

Due to recent heavy snowfall in the area covering the mountain roads, Lane County requested Coast Guard helicopter support in locating the individuals.

The MH-65 aircrew hoisted the two men and transferred them to awaiting Lane County sheriffs at Eugene Airport. During the search for the two men, the aircrew identified two additional persons in distress and passed their position to Lane County, who believed they were within range of their land party.

The two hikers reported no medical concerns.

“These young men did a lot of things right to give themselves the best chance of being rescued,” said Lt. Maggie Champin, MH-65 aircraft commander, Sector North Bend. “By writing ‘SOS’ in the snow, staying near their vehicle and staying near logging roads, we were able to find them relatively quickly. We recommend hikers carry personal locator beacons while out in the back country.”

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