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County EMS helps at glider accident


October 24, 2018

Last Wednesday around 8:30 a.m., Klickitat County received a 9-1-1 call reporting a para-glider incident on the hills above Doug’s Beach State Park along State Route 14 east of Lyle. The person reporting the incident said the patient was conscious and alert but in extreme pain, losing circulation in his legs and feeling nauseous. Emergency Medical Services (KCEMS) personnel from Klickitat County Fire District 4 (KCFD 4) and the Klickitat County EMS District along with Search & Rescue (SAR) volunteers were paged to the incident.

The reporting person was with the patient in steep terrain on a bald face of the hill side just below the ridge line. He reported his friend had fallen more than 30 feet while attempting to para-glide from the ridge to Doug’s Beach. Klickitat County Department of Emergency Management (KCDEM) 9-1-1 Communications Officers plotted GPS coordinates of the caller’s cell phone and told field responders the best access would be from the top of the ridge.

Washington State Department of Natural Resources fire crews responded to open a locked gate closest to the patient’s location. KCEMS requested an Air Ambulance helicopter, due to the nature of the patient’s injuries and remote terrain. A Life Flight helicopter was dispatched and landed on the ridge above the patient at approximately the same time ground EMS and SAR responders started arriving in the area. KCFD 4 personnel took Incident Command.

The patient was found to be about 320 feet below the ridge line on a very steep grass slope. EMS personnel from all three agencies accessed the patient and began patient care. SAR personnel determined a technical rope rescue system would be needed and began setting up a picket anchor system to lower a litter and perform the rescue. KCEMS and Life Flight EMS personnel requested KCDEM to ask the State Emergency Operations Center for a hoist helicopter due to the patient’s injuries and an extended overland rescue time frame. A hoist helicopter from Whidbey Island Naval Air Station was launched.

Local EMS personnel continued patient care, and SAR personnel continued to plan and prepare for an overland rescue using the technical rope system and ground transportation as a contingency in case the hoist helicopter operation was not successful. EMS personnel requested emergency delivery of additional blood supply to the scene from Skyline Hospital. KCDEM Communications Officers Dispatched a Sheriff’s Deputy to make the blood delivery. An additional supply of blood was flown in by a second Life Flight helicopter.

At around noon, the hoist helicopter arrived overhead and preformed a successful hoist rescue operation. The patient was flown to a level one trauma center hospital in Portland for treatment. At last report the patient was in critical but stable condition with multiple fractures and internal bleeding.


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