Mason County Sheriff's Deputies were busy Sunday afternoon as they received two separate calls for assistance in the Olympic National Forest. The first call came at 3:02 PM when officers received a call for help on the Mount Ellinor Trail. A 37 year old male, from Olympia, had fallen about 150 feet from the trail and sustained a head injury.
Just three minutes later at 3:05 PM, Sheriff's Deputies received the second call that people in the Skokomish River Canyon near the Steel Bridge were hanging onto branches on the side of the canyon unable to get out of the canyon.
Deputies and fire rescue workers from Mason County Fire Districts #4, #5, #6, and 18 responded to both scenes. At the Mount Ellinor incident rescuers summoned a helicopter from Navel Air Station Whidbey Island to assist. Upon arrival at the scene, the helicopter crew lifted 37 year old Shyloh Wideman into the helicopter and flew her to Harbor View Medical Center. Wideman was treated and subsequently released from Harbor View. That rescue operation took about 3½ hours to complete and involved 5 rescuers plus the Navy helicopter crew.
Meanwhile, over at the Steel Bridge scene a total of 17 rescuers extracted two 18 year old Shelton men, and an 18 year old Tenino woman. This extraction took place in a very steep canyon. It involved lowering a rope and a single rescuer about 300 to 350 feet into the canyon to reach the three people. Mason County District #5 Firefighter Cass Monroe was lowered down a rope where he made his way to Kyle Holman of Shelton. Monroe placed Holman into a harness. Then with the assistance of Monroe and other rescuers at the top pulling on the rope, Holman was brought out of the canyon uninjured. Monroe was then lowered back down into the canyon where he made his way to Roycholle McEloy of Tenino and Tyler Fifev of Shelton. Monroe secured harnesses to the two then with the assistance of rescuers at the top lifted the two out of the canyon. The incident ended with all three being brought up safely and without injury.
Deputies at the scene said this is no place for a Sunday hike. The terrain is extremely dangerous. None of the three were properly equipped or experienced to make such a decent into this dangerous canyon. These people were extremely lucky to have survived this ordeal without injury.
When the three were brought out to the top of the canyon, a United States Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer was on scene to address violations of several Forest Service regulations by the three.