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Deputies rescue Mt. Washington climber

Chopper coming inOREGON CASCADES: An injured climber spent the night on the slopes of Mount Washington after an accident over the weekend. Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley reports 20-year-old Sarah Ford of Bend was rescued from Mt. Washington after nightly where temperatures dropped below freezing. On Sunday night October 11th, at 11:23 p.m., the Deschutes County 9-1-1 center received a cell phone call from Ford reporting that she had been hit in the head by a falling rock while rappelling down from the 7,700 foot elevation level of Mt. Washington which is located on the Linn/ Deschutes County line.

The Deschutes County 9-1-1 center was able to capture Sarah’s cell phone location accurate to within 1/2 mile. Sarah’s cell phone was at 1% battery charge when she called 9-1-1 and attempts to re-contact her by phone were unsuccessful. The rescue information was relayed to the Linn County Sheriff’s Office 9-1-1 center just after midnight. Deputies, 14 LCSO Search and Rescue members, six members of the Corvallis Mountain Rescue Team and three LCSO Posse members responded to the area and searched throughout the night, locating Ford at 6:49 a.m.

Rescuers learned that she had been climbing alone and entered the Mt. Washington wilderness area from the Pacific Crest Trailhead on the Old Santiam Wagon Road at approximately 1 p.m. While rappelling from the summit, at approximately 7:30 p.m., she was hit in the left temple. After she was struck, she fell approximately 15 feet and received a serious, injury to her left knee.

Hiker in basketFord hiked approximately three quarters of a mile down to the 6,200 foot level and was unable to continue to walk any longer; she called 9-1-1 for help.

Due to the extent of her injuries and very remote rugged terrain, assistance was requested from the Oregon Army National Guard unit based in Salem. At 11:57 a.m., the Oregon Army National Guard arrived at Mt. Washington and was able to safely hoist her into a helicopter. Ford was transported to River Bend hospital in Springfield.

Images: Photo Courtesy Linn County Sheriff. Crews used a stretcher to airlift the injured climber.


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