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King County Sheriff
Mitzi Johanknecht

Injured Climber Flown to Harborview on Guardian two


Thanks to the quick response of Rescue crews from Seattle Mountain Rescue, King County Search and Rescue, medics from Bellevue Fire, and the King County Sheriffs Guardian 2 helicopter, a 64 year old man from Portland is recovering today at Harborview today after falling 70+ feet Monday evening while down climbing the Tooth, a mountain near Snoqualmie pass.


At around 5pm on Monday June 20th, King County Sheriff 911 communications received a phase II 911 call from a man reporting that someone had fallen near a mountain called the Tooth, near Snoqualmie pass.  The victim who was later learned to be in his 60’s, had fallen close to 70ft while down climbing the mountain with his girlfriend.  The victim had just removed some of his safety gear, including his helmet before he fell.   Another group of climbers had witnessed the accident and were able to call 911.  It was reported that in addition to having difficulty breathing and not being able to feel his hands and feet, the victim was also suffering from head, back, neck, and leg wounds.


Volunteers from Seattle Mountain Rescue and King County Search and Rescue were sent to the trail to begin the 4 mile hike to reach the victim and provide as much help as they could.  At the same time, Medics from Bellevue fire and King County Sheriff Pilots and Crew of the rescue helicopter Guardian 2, also began gearing up for a rescue mission.  Once all crew members had assembled, they flew to the lat /long coordinates that the Communications Center was able to get from the Phase II phone.  Once on-scene, a medic and deputy were lowered over 100 feet down to where the victim was.  Working with the SMR and KCSAR volunteers that had made it to the victim by ground, the Deputy and Medic were able to safely package the victim onto a backboard and hoist him into Guardian 2.  Based on the extent of the injuries, Bellevue Medics determined that the victim needed to go straight to Harborview for emergency treatment.  Within 3 hours of the initial 911 call, Guardian 2 landed at Harborview with the patient where he began to receive advanced emergency medical attention.


This was the first rescue in which KCSO refurbished, 1970 Huey, known as Guardian 2 was used.  The Huey was originally obtained from military surplus 3 years ago and then rebuilt using grant money from the federal government.


At the time of this release, the patient was at Harborview in critical condition.  Based on the extent of the victims injuries, the weather that had moved into the area just after Guarding 2 left that would have exposed the victim and rescue crews to possible lightning strikes, and the distance the victim was from the trailhead and advanced medical assistance, had Guardian 2 not been available, medics and rescue volunteers feel he may not have survived his injuries.