Coast Guard crews, working with Washington County rescue personnel, rescued an injured 58-year-old man from a ravine near Gale Creek Campground, approximately 28 miles west of Portland, Thursday.
The Astoria-based Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew safely transferred the man, who reportedly suffered multiple broken ribs and a punctured lung from a 25 to 30 foot fall into the ravine, to medical personnel at Providence St. Vincent Hospital in Portland.
Coast Guard Sector Columbia River watchstanders received a call around 3 p.m. from Washington County Dispatch requesting helicopter support to rescue the man who was in the care of ground rescue crews. The terrain and the man’s injuries made it inadvisable to transport him over land to emergency medical services. The Jayhawk crew launched from Air Station Astoria shortly after 3:30 p.m. and was on scene at the rescue site in less than a half hour to conduct the hoist and transport the man to Portland.
"The area where this rescue took place was extremely rugged with narrow openings between the trees that allowed small openings for the helicopter crew and ground rescue personnel to work with," said Senior Chief Joseph Dalida, a Sector Columbia River Search and Rescue coordinator. "The outstanding efforts of both the people on the ground and our crews allowed us to safely retrieve the fallen man and ensure he got to proper medical care."
During the hoisting of the injured man and rescue personnel, the Jayhawk crew reported that the helicopter's main rotor blades hit parts of the surrounding trees. However it did not prevent them from flying to the hospital where they successfully transferred the man to awaiting emergency medical personnel and shut down the aircraft for inspection.
No damage, beyond green transfer marks, was found on the rotor blades and the crew was authorized to fly the Jayhawk back to Air Station Astoria. As a precautionary measure, it will undergo a thorough inspection by highly trained maintenance crews at the air station prior to returning to further service.