Man rescued after 5 days in Kalmiopsis Wilderness

Kalmiopsis Wilderness- A Eugene man spent five days stranded in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness in Josephine County before he was spotted and rescued Wednesday.

The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office was notified Monday that Matt Dunberg, 42, of Eugene hadn’t returned home when expected. Dunberg had planned to hike the 45 mile Trans Kalmiopsis Loop beginning Friday, June 9 and ending Sunday, June 11. When Dunberg didn’t check in with friends as planned Monday morning, they alerted law enforcement.

The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue crew responded to the area and quickly found Dunberg’s vehicle at the Babyfoot Lake trail parking area. They did a sweep of the area, but didn’t locate him.

Tuesday morning, the search resumed and included two ground search teams and a plane. The search continued, unsuccessfully, until 6:30 p.m. when crews lost light in the canyons of the wilderness area.

Wednesday morning, a Coast Guard helicopter joined the search. Dunberg was spotted and airlifted to safety about 11 a.m. Dunberg was in good condition and refused to be taken to a local hospital.

Dunberg told rescuers he came across a swollen river during his hike and couldn’t safely cross it. He didn’t have the supplies to make the return trip to his car, so he stayed put until he could be found.

“The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office wishes to thank partners like the U.S. Coast Guard for their dedication to the preservation of life,” said Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel. “Working together, we were able to dramatically reduce search effort times that could have resulted in a loss of life.”

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