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FALLEN  tree struck and killed a Pacific Crest Trail hiker from Germany on Aug. 27.

Sheriff, SAR crews respond to two incidents

On Tuesday, Aug. 27, The Skamania County Sheriff’s Office responded to two search and rescue missions, within two hours of each other, on the Pacific Crest Trail on different ends of the county, Undersheriff Pat Bond reported in a press release.

In the first incident, a German man hiking the Pacific Crest Trail died after he was hit by a falling tree.

At 4 p.m., the sheriff’s office was notified, by a broken cell phone call, of an injured hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail, northwest of Trout Lake, Wash. The caller estimated their location as 1.5 north of the USFS 23 Road.

A Skamania County Deputy Search and Rescue (SAR) coordinator was dispatched to the scene and requests for additional SAR resources were made to include an air asset with hoist capabilities.

“While responders were enroute, a cell connection was made and alerted to the patient’s condition quickly deteriorating,” according to Bond.

 Emergency Medical response was requested and due to the location, an ambulance out of Dallesport, Wash., was dispatched.

SAR personnel were able to access the injured hiker, identified by passport, Finn Bastian, 28, of Preetz, Germany. He was extricated to the trailhead at which time CPR was initiated. Bastian was unable to be revived and died at the scene.

His hiking partners, Larissa Stawicki, 27, of Lunburg, Germany, and Melanie Teek, 38, had hiked from Mexico along the PCT to the Trout Lake area. According to Stawicki and Teek, they had reached a wooden bridge. While crossing, a large tree fell, striking Bastian. The tree appeared to have rotted at the base causing it to fall, Bond noted.

At 6:43 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office was notified by the Washington State Department of Emergency Management of another ELT/SOS activation from a hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail, near Table Mountain, northeast of North Bonneville, Wash.

The hiker, Shane Brown, 41, of Crescent City, Calif., stated he was suffering from a stomach virus and was very weak and unable to walk, according to Bond. A Skamania County Deputy SAR coordinator was dispatched and resources from Wind River SAR and Clark County SAR were dispatched. A total of 22 SAR personnel responded and began the rescue.

At 10:24 p.m., the first group of responders reached Brown. He was packaged and littered back to the trailhead. At 12:58 a.m., Brown had reached an area in which SAR personnel could transfer care to Skamania County Emergency Medical staff. He was transported to a local area hospital for treatment.

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