“It’s pretty uncommon for you to do a cliff rescue at night,” Cmd. Josh Smith, U.S. Coast Guard Sector North Bend, said.
After falling down a cliff a man held onto a tree for dear life, hundreds of feet above the Rogue River, when a fisherman saw the struggling man and called 911.
“He started to lose a little bit of hope and it almost felt like we were going to have him slip and fall the rest of the way down,” Austin Prince, Rural Metro Fire Department Division Chief, said.
The remote location and limited road access made rescuing the victim by ground extremely difficult.
“Solution to the problem was to call the Coast Guard, which is a very rare event for us,” Prince said.
“We started losing all of our daylight,” Lt. Cassandra Hawley, copilot with U.S. Coast Guard Sector North Bend, said.
The U.S. Coast Guard Sector North Bend’s rescue helicopter arrived, just as ground crews were arriving at the scene.
“He kind of cliff walked over but basically had to jump under the tree essentially to get to him,” Cmd. Smith said.
After 3.5 hours from the initial call, the man was extracted without any issues and flown to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford, where he was treated for a reported injured leg and periodic loss of consciousness.
“This was really a team effort that everyone has their part to play and everyone really pulled it off,” Cmd. Smith said.
The U.S. Coast Guard Sector North Bend and Rural Metro Fire were by assisted by multiple agencies, including American Medical Response, Grants Pass Department of Public Safety, Josephine County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit and Josephine County Search and Rescue.
Anna Weeks is a multimedia journalist for NBC5 News. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Oregon State University with a degree in Digital Communication Arts and a minor in writing. Previously, she interned with the National Association of Broadcasters at the NAB Show in Las Vegas.
Originally from the Portland area, Anna is excited to explore Southern Oregon. In her free time, she can be found reading, running or watching sports.