Firefighters, rangers rescue professor along Elwha's banks


Firefighter/medics from Clallam County Fire District No. 2, Olympic National Park firefighters and rangers rescued a 59-year-old professor from Brigham Young University Tuesday along the banks of the Elwha River. 

The professor was assisting a party of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the study of the Elwha River when he suffered a medical problem and had to be hauled out on a wheeled litter. District 2 Firefighters responded to the scene at 2:45 p.m. and immediately requested assistance from their partner agency the Olympic National Park, which brought in the specialized wheeled litter, two engines with eight firefighters and two rangers. 

The firefighters located the hiker approximately one half mile from the trail head near U.S. Highway 101 and Olympic Hot Springs Road. The trail was steep and slippery in many places making the rescue difficult. 

Fire District 2 responded with eight firefighter/medics, an ambulance, a brush engine and a command vehicle according to Chief Sam Phillips, the incident commander. 

“Our firefighters arrived at the patient's side at 3:13 p.m. and began evaluating him and setting up a plan to safely remove the patient,” said Phillips. "We had him out at the trailhead at 4:26 p.m. en route to Olympic Medical Center," he added. 

"This was an excellent example of the close interworking relationship between Clallam County Fire District No. 2 and Olympic National Park and our ability to serve the public regardless of the location of the emergency; we appreciate the assistance of the Park," Phillips said. 

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