Skamania Co. responds to coinciding river rescues

At 5:08 p.m. on Aug. 9, Skamania County EMS (SCEMS), Skamania County Fire District #4 (SCFD #4), and Skamania County Fire District #5 were dispatched to 1.5 miles past Dougan Falls on the Washougal River, to an area commonly referred to as Naked Falls, for swimmer with a shoulder injury.

While en route, crews requested the Regional Technical Rescue Team for additional assistance. Emergency crews arrived to find the patient down a 200-foot steep and rocky trail on the bank of the river.

While setting up a system to raise the injured patient from the river, additional bystanders contacted crews for a juvenile stuck in a waterfall upstream. Due to the limited number of emergency personnel on scene, crews diverted to assist the minor who was trapped in the water and was considered to be in immediate danger.

Personnel located the minor approximately 0.25 miles upriver with his left leg stuck between two rocks at the bottom of a 7-foot waterfall; bystanders were holding the minor’s head above the water. Crews worked with the bystanders to free the patient’s leg and were able to move the patient to the shore.

The patient had been in the cold water for 30 minutes and once freed he was moved up a 500-foot trail to the roadway using a stokes basket and placed into a waiting ambulance. He was transported by a mutual aid resource to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.

Crews were then able to refocus their efforts on the initial call, the 24-year-old female, who had remained in care of a SCEMS paramedic. The patient was packaged into a SKED, and using a complex rope system, they raised the patient 50 feet vertically to the trail. The patient was transported by SCEMS to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. Skamania County Fire District #2 and Camas Fire and Rescue were also on scene.

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