UPDATE Rescuers bring injured kayaker to safety

first_imgWhen kayaker Joseph Grudger, 19, rode down a 60-foot waterfall in Gifford Pinchot National Forest late Wednesday morning, the splashy, rolling fun turned to pain. He’d injured himself, possibly his back.Two fellow kayakers came to help, said Chief Ben Peeler with North Country Emergency Medical Service, based in Yacolt.“They got him out of the kayak and laid him down on the shoreline,” Peeler said.With no cellphone coverage there, one friend drove to an area to make a 911 call; the other stayed with Grudger.The call came in to the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office about 11 a.m., said 911 dispatcher and assistant spokeswoman Jacqueline Garrity.The friends were in a remote area, in the Lower Falls region of the North Fork of the Lewis River, 30 miles east of Cougar.Sheriff’s deputies were called to help, as were members of Skamania County Fire District 6, North Country EMS and its all-volunteer Volcano Rescue Team.‘High-angle’ rescueGrudger was “conscious and alert through the whole thing” and talking, Peeler said. Rescuers fastened him in a rescue basket.The team, trained and equipped to use rope systems, set up one system to hoist the basket about 15 feet vertically to the top of a ledge, an operation called a “high-angle” rescue. The hoisters themselves were fastened to a rope system uphill, Peeler said.last_img

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