The helicopter arrived on scene at about 6:30 PM. The pilot of the helicopter carefully lowered the large craft into the canyon under the bridge. The pilot hovered the helicopter with absolute precision while it lowered a Navy rescue diver into the water. The rescue diver then took control of the patient who had been packaged for the lift and transport by Fire rescuers at the bottom of the canyon. The pilot then raised the patient and the rescue diver into the helicopter. After the patient was secured in the aircraft, the pilot carefully backed the aircraft out from under the bridge. The aircraft was slowly and carefully raised even with the bridge deck and signaled with a thumbs up that all went well. Rescuers returned the gesture with a salute.
The patient was then transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Meanwhile back in the steep canyon Fire Rescue personnel needed to extricate themselves and the two boys out of the canyon. The boys were not injured, but did need assistance. Twenty Five personnel from a DNR fire crew that had been working in the area assisted rescuers in pulling rescue personnel and the boys up out of the 400 foot canyon.
Each year the Sheriff’s Office and rescue personnel are called to this location because unwary hikers try to make their way down the side of this very dangerous canyon to the river. At least once or twice per year we experience injuries and deaths in this canyon from hikers disregarding the fact that this canyon is a restricted area. The United States Forest Service has closed the area around the High Steel Bridge canyon and does not allow hiking in the Skokomish River canyon area. It is not yet known if any charges will be forthcoming in this case.