“Carrying a charged cell phone and displaying incredible grit and determination to self-rescue likely prevented more serious injury in this case.” Jefferson County Search and Rescue
HERE’S THE REPORT FROM Jefferson Search and Rescue:
JSAR was paged at 12:45 AM on Saturday, February 22, 2020, for the rescue of an injured trail runner on the Duckabush River Trail. Jeffcom 911 dispatch was able to confirm that the subject was located 3.5 or 4 miles up the trail with a reported ankle injury.
Four JSAR volunteers responded to the scene and started up the trail following the crew from Brinnon Fire Department, while a Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputy managed trailhead coordination and communication. Due to cold temperatures and the reported injury, JSAR and fire personnel coordinated to get fire-department EMTs to the subject as quickly as possible while SAR personnel brought up the equipment necessary to transport the injured subject.
The subject had been injured 9 or 10 miles from the trailhead around 5 PM on Friday. He crawled several miles until his cell phone obtained a signal, which he noticed when he received a text message. He stopped and called 911 to request help then kept moving, eventually relocating himself on his hands and knees 5 or 6 miles from the point of injury before Brinnon Fire personnel located him by voice. They then reached him and started treatment for exposure to cold and a broken ankle.
JSAR personnel scouted further up the trail to locate a good landing or hoist zone due to the distance from the trailhead and the number of hours since the subject was injured in sub-freezing temperatures with occasional light precipitation and wearing only light running clothes. A helicopter was requested by JCSO, and the subject was splinted, warmed and moved by wheeled litter to the hoist zone near the top of Big Hump. A U.S. Coast Guard SAR helicopter crew from Air Station Port Angeles flew to the scene and performed a hoist using their rescue basket, then took the runner to Harborview Medical Center for further treatment.
Trail running is a lightweight endeavor with little clothing and equipment available to a solo runner if something goes wrong. Carrying a charged cell phone and displaying incredible grit and determination to self rescue likely prevented more serious injury in this case.
HERE’S FOOTAGE FROM U.S. Coast Guard Air Station / SFO Port Angeles: