Injured Mount St. Helens hiker flown to hospital

By John Branton, Columbian Staff Reporter

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Rescuers Wednesday afternoon and night worked back-to-back missions on the south side of Mount St. Helens.

Beginning about 2:30 p.m., they went to the scene and prepared an injured Boy Scout to be airlifted by Life Flight helicopter to a hospital. Upon returning to their base in Yacolt about 9 p.m., they were called out to the same general area to rescue an exhausted person.

About 14 volunteers with North Country Medical Service’s Volcano Rescue Team were at the scene, and a deputy with the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office.

In the first operation, a teenager who’d been on the Monitor Ridge main climbing route fell about 75 feet down a steep boulder field, said Chief Ben Peeler with North Country. The boy suffered injuries believed to be non-life-threatening. He was flown to Portland’s Legacy Emanuel Hospital. His name and medical condition were not immediately available.

About 5:45 p.m., an official radioed they were above the tree line and seeking a place for the helicopter pilot to land.

An official said about 8 p.m. that the patient had been transferred to the helicopter, and that rescuers with North Country had just left Climbers Bivouac to return to their base in Yacolt.

About 9:20 p.m., Peeler said he and his team were back at their station and had to return to the same area to rescue someone who was exhausted and unable to continue at the 7,000-foot level.