Helicopter Rescue of Hiker in Rugged Olympic National Park Caught on Video

Admin Emergency Services, Helicopter Search and Rescue

Search rescue helicopter services are all too often completely essential for the safe evacuation of injured or stuck people from remote locations. This was demonstrated only recently with posted video of a hiker being extracted from one such famously rugged spot.

The video in question shows a Coast Guard aircrew hauling the previously missing individual from the deep forests of Olympic National Park in Washington State’s coastal mountains this past Sunday.

A search party found the hiker in a ravine near Mount Olsen after he had first been reported missing on the 16th of September.

The helicopter and its crew flew in from Astoria, Oregon, and used the chopper’s hoisting apparatus to lift Jerren Fisher, 26 from the ravine. He was then given a medevac flight to nearby Olympia Regional Airport and passed on to emergency medical services for a look-over after the helicopter landed at 8:30 pm. Fisher was in stable condition according to an official Coast Guard news release.

For those who’d like to see the video of the rescue as it unfolds, the U.S. Coast Guard’s Pacific Northwest Division’s Twitter feed recently posted it.

Fisher himself hadn’t ventured out unprepared either. Despite needing to eventually be rescued by emergency services from the famously treacherous Olympic mountains, he was well prepared for his hiking trip according to the same Coast Guard office that posted about his rescue. However, with certain natural landscapes, even ideal preparation isn’t always enough.

An Olympic National Park search and rescue team managed to first find Fisher at 4:35 pm that same Sunday. They then called in the Coast Guard Air Station in Port Angeles and requested helicopter rescue at 5:10 pm due to the sheer difficulty of the terrain in which Fisher was trapped.

However, it was another helicopter from Astoria, Oregon that eventually arrived to take over rescue efforts at 7:20 pm. This chopper then finally managed to extract Fisher at 8 pm with help from a hoist and a rescue swimmer that was dispatched into the ravine where the hiker was stuck. Fisher himself even helped guide the chopper to his position with a flashlight.

According to Jason Joll, Lieutenant commander of the Astoria helicopter crew, Fisher’s assistance with his rescue greatly assisted their efforts and the man was found in “good spirits” despite his ordeal.

The hiker had been rationing food and water since first realizing that he was in a serious predicament and was still well-provisioned when found. He also had the necessary equipment for keeping himself safe and “a strong will to survive” according to the Coast Guard’s Twitter announcements.

Joll further applauded the hiker’s handling of his emergency by explaining that, “He didn’t know how long he would be stuck and was resourceful by rationing food and water,”

Fisher had set out on a solo camping and hiking expedition on September 8th from the Graves Trailhead and had been expected back by Sept. 12th. Family members finally reported him missing when they didn’t hear anything from the man by the 16th.

Search & rescue helicopter services are a vital part of evacuation and rescue support in places as rugged as Olympic National Park. Helicopters from regional and national government agencies and also chartered rescue helicopters from private companies like Flex Air Aviation are often the only means of reaching trapped people in many deep wilderness areas.

Photo Credit: National Park Service