MAZAMA A Texas man was plucked from the Pasayten Wilderness Area after being injured Sunday while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.
William Weber, 60, of Livingston, Texas, and another man were hiking in a remote area near Jim Pass when Weber fell and slid into a tree and suffered a head injury, Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office Chief Criminal Deputy Dave Rodriguez said.
The other man had a satellite phone and called for help. Although the signal was patchy, the Sheriff’s Office learned the men’s location, that Weber had a head injury and that low fog covered the ground.
“To manually pack out someone with a head injury is not an option,” Rodriguez said.
The Sheriff’s Office contacted MedStar, which has an air ambulance and rescue base in Brewster, but because of the fog a helicopter with a hoist was needed.
Fairchild Air Force Base, near Spokane, was contacted and sent a helicopter with full crew and medic.
The fog had cleared enough that the helicopter was able to land, load Weber and take him to Confluence Hospital in Wenatchee, Rodriguez said.
The hikers were “a little surprised to find snow” along their hiking path, he said. He didn’t know if the men were hiking the trail’s full length from the Canadian border to the Mexican border, or if they were just covering part of it.
Weber was not billed for the rescue since the Air Force considered the rescue as a training mission, Rodriguez said.