Skamania SAR responds to three weekend incidents

Washougal man was rescued after a fall from 15 feet at the 113-foot Big Creek Falls.

Submitted photo
Washougal man was rescued after a fall from 15 feet at the 113-foot Big Creek Falls.



Search and rescue personnel responded to three backwoods rescues on Sept. 29-30 in Skamania and Clark counties, including one search involving a total of 31 paid workers and volunteers in which the woman walked out on her own power.

On Saturday at approximately 7:09 p.m., the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an injured hiker two miles up the trail from the Climber’s Bivouac, USFS 830 Road on Mount St. Helens.

“We received additional information the hiker was with three others in her group and had possibly sustained a broken ankle,” said Undersheriff Pat Bond.

A Search and Rescue Deputy was dispatched along with North Country EMS. On their arrival, it was determined rescuers would have to respond up the trail and pack the patient out, as she was unable to move. The hiker, Louise Bowman, 53, of Dallas, Texas, was located at the tree line, two miles up the mountain from the Climbers Bivouac, as initially reported. The Volcano Rescue team was requested and they responded with 10 members.

Bowman was evaluated, placed on a litter, and returned to the trail head at approximately 11:30 p.m., where she went in a private vehicle for medical treatment.

On Sept. 29 at approximately 8:39 p.m., the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office received a phone call from Jamie C. Satterthwaite, 27, of Port Orchard, Wash. She reported her friend, Colleen F. Mannahan, 56, also of Port Orchard, was overdue from picking mushrooms in Skamania County. Satterthwaite stated Mannahan had received information and possibly a map from a local resident of placed to pick. She then mentioned the Willard area, northwest of White Salmon, or the Stabler area, north of Carson.

With the limited information, Satterthwaite was urged to contact her local law enforcement agency and sign Mannahan as a missing person. The Skamania office attempted phone contact with Mannahan to check on her welfare. A female answered, but the connection was soon lost.

A second caller, Greg Owen, 59, of Carson, called to advise he believed Mannahan was indeed in the Stabler area and provided a possible direction of travel. He called back and reported finding Mannahan’s car on the USFS 4309 spur off the main USFS 43 road, northwest of the ranger station.

Skamania County Deputies responded and confirmed the location of the car and started a search and rescue mission with additional search resources requested for the morning. Mannahan was reported to be inexperienced, wearing only light clothing, and having some medical conditions that expedited the search mission, according to Bond.

Clark County Search and Rescue responded with eight volunteers and began a hasty search just after 1 a.m., Bond said. They were in the field by 4:30 a.m., with additional searchers to arrive at 8 a.m.

Search teams from Silver Star SAR, Multnomah County SAR, and Clark County SAR assisted in the daylight search, 31 in total.

Mannahan was located at approximately 4:57 p.m. by search teams. She was medically evaluated and walked back to the search base.

On Sept. 30 at approximately 9:30 a.m., the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an injured climber at Big Creek Falls, just off the USFS 90 road, 26 miles east of Cougar, Wash. The initial information was the injured person was rappelling down the 113-foot falls and fell the last 15 feet to the rocky pool below.

A Skamania County Search & Rescue Deputy was dispatched along with North County EMS (NCEMS) and the Volcano Rescue Team (VRT). A request was made for a helicopter with hoist capabilities to expedite the rescue.

A medic with NCEMS was able to reach the critically injured climber, John F. Johnson, 72, of Washougal. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter was dispatched from Astoria, but was unable to remove the patient safely. Johnson was then roped back to the top of the falls and transported to the Pine Creek Ranger Station and life flighted to a Portland area hospital for treatment.



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