Sunday, August 7, 2022
Aug. 7, 2022

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Copter rescues pair stranded near Mount St. Helens

Toutle hunters rescued by Air Force

The Columbian

After being stranded on a cliff all night a father and son were airlifted by a Navy helicopter off Elk Rock near Mt. St Helens. The call came in last night shortly before 8 p.m. in which a woman reported that her husband, Casey Wassel and his 11 year old son, Fisher Wassell, (both reside in Toutle) reported to her that they were stranded on a cliff so steep they were at risk of “tipping over.”

She said that her husband is diabetic and has gout and does not have his medication with him and they were both wet and coud not stop shivering. (They did have packs with them but it is not clear what was in the packs). Both were hunting elk when they got stranded. Casey Wassell did have a cell phone with him that was working.

Cowlitz Sheriff Sgt. Ryan Cruser, a certified search and rescue coordinator, worked with volunteers from Cowlitz Search and Rescue all night to get near the victims. Searchers made voice contact with victims at about 6 a.m. today.

Due to the treacherous steep terrain, and the victims condition Sgt. Cruser requested a rescue helicopter from the Navy. The helicopter responded and airlifted the victims and the SAR team to safety at about 8 a.m. The victims were transported by ground ambulance to Providence Hospital in Centralia for treatment. (Potential for hypothermia and other non-life threatening medical issues).

The searchers are in the process of returning from the mission so further details will not be available until they return.

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