SALEM, Ore. – An Oregon Army National Guard HH-60M Black Hawk helicopter crew rescued two people stranded in separate locations near Mt. Jefferson in the Jeff Park Wilderness area Oct. 26.
The father of a missing male Australian mountain biker notified the Marion County Sheriff’s Office through the consulate in Sydney, Australia, that his son had texted him from Oregon and was stranded without cold weather gear. The mountain biker was stuck in a 4- to 5-foot snowdrift along a trail near Hawk Mountain. He sheltered in place overnight inside an existing hiking trail structure.
In a separate incident, a female hiker on the Pacific Coast Trail was caught in whiteout conditions for two days. She activated her In-Reach GPS device Oct. 24, but ground crews could not reach her due to snowdrifts and fallen trees.
The man and woman were in the Jeff Park Wilderness area 11.5 miles from each other, so state search and rescue and Oregon Army National Guard Aviation airlifted them on the same mission. The HH-60M crew flew them to the Detroit Lake Ranger Station, where they received medical attention before being flown to Salem.
“The weather conditions delayed the operation because of the heavy snow and whiteout conditions,” said Scott Lucas, state SAR coordinator with the Oregon Department of Emergency Management. “Because the two locations were near each other, the helicopter was able to pick them both up on the same mission and take them to the ranger station together.”