Incidents:Helicopter evacuation at Big Creek Falls

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Helicopter evacuation at Big Creek Falls
Date 2018/09/30
Location Big_Creek_(South_Cascades)
Severity Injury
Canyoneering-related Yes
SAR involvement Yes
Navigation problem No
Environmental problem No
Communication problem No
Planning problem No
Skills problem No
Body movement problem No
Rigging problem No
Rappel problem Yes
Insufficient gear No
Gear failure No


John F. Johnson, a 72 year-old man from Washougal, WA, fell 15-20 feet onto rocks after rappelling off the end of his rope during the first rappel of Big Creek Falls. Another party activated EMS by cell phone at around 9:30 a.m. At 11:50 a.m, the Skamania County Sheriff's Office requested assistance from USCG Sector Columbia River. The Coast Guard dispatched a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, which arrived at 12:55 p.m. but was unable to hoist Johnson. Volcano Rescue Team members subsequently used a rope system to raise Johnson to the top of the falls. Johnson was then transported to Pine Creek Ranger Station where a Life Flight helicopter flew him to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, OR.