The Mason County Sheriff’s Office rescued an injured hiker that fell over 300 feet under the High Steel Bridge over the weekend. The 25 year-old woman suffered head injuries as she slid down the canyon wall below the bridge Saturday.
Detective William Adam tells us on Saturday, June 13, 2015, at approximately 4:14 PM, MACECOM Dispatch received a 9-1-1 call that a female hiking with a group had slid down almost 300 feet to the water below the High Steel Bridge. The Mason County Sheriff’s Office Regional Special Operations Rescue Team and Mason County Fire Districts 4, 6, 9 & 11 all responded.
Mason County Sheriff Corporal Tim Ripp and Mason County Fire District 4 Assistant Chief Greg Seals risked their lives repelling 420 feet to the water below and found 25 year old Liz Nansen from Shelton, half in the water and unresponsive. Corporal Ripp pulled Liz from the water and conducted an evaluation while Asst. Chief Seals prepared a stokes litter basket. Liz was then hoisted up to the top of the High Steel Bridge where she was transported and finally air lifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
This is the second heroic repel and life saving rescue within a month. On May 24, 2015, case # 15-07046, William H. Shaffer, 20, enlisted US Navy stationed in Bremerton, was rescued in the same fashion.
The High Steel Bridge is located off of US Forest Service Road #2340 and is in the Olympic National Forest approximately 25 miles north, northwest from Shelton. The High Steel Bridge was built by the Simpson Logging Company in 1929 as a railway bridge and it stands 420 feet above the south fork of the Skokomish River, which makes it the highest bridge in WA State.
According to the US Forest Service, the entire area under and around the High Steel Bridge has a no trespassing closure order where hiking is prohibited. They have posted signs, but people continue to hike the steep slopes and areas that are extremely dangerous. Some private websites boast that the hike is to be taken at one’s own risk, but the US Forest Service and the Mason County Sheriff’s Office believe that these websites disregard the law. The area is not to be hiked at all because of the extreme danger as proven within the last month.
UPDATE: Patient airlifted to Harborview Hospital. A press release will be completed on Monday with full details. pic.twitter.com/a1POinSg5a
— Mason County Sheriff (@MasonCoSheriff) June 14, 2015