Wednesday, March 6, 2002
For the second time in three weeks, the Hood River County Sheriff's Office rescued hikers who became lost in the Starvation Creek drainage.
Jesse Sweet, 28, and Sriharsha Vemana, 29, both of Portland, were found uninjured about noon March 3 after they were forced to spent a cold night in the forest. They had called 9-1-1 for help about 8:30 p.m. on Saturday after being unable to climb out of a steep ravine about two miles from the trailhead.
Sheriff Joe Wampler sent out two planes and a team of Crag Rats, the local search group, to scout for the two men at first light. He said the lost hikers had just managed to report the overhead flight of a plane to pinpoint their whereabouts when their cell phone died from a low battery. Using mountaineering gear, the Crag Rats were able to traverse the steep rock walls and hoist the cold and dehydrated subjects to safety.
Wampler said the two men made many of the same classic mistakes as the Feb. 17 case involving Pippa Brode, 22, of Portland. Like Brode, the Portland duo headed out on the 14-mile round-trip journey from the trailhead, about 10 miles west of Hood River, to Mt. Defiance -- but didn't stay the course on the return trip.
All three hikers headed into the Starvation Creek drainage and lost valuable daylight time battling the brush and rugged terrain, according to Wampler.
One key difference, said Wampler, was that Brode, accompanied by her Golden Labrador Retriever, had prepared only for a day trip but Sweet and Vemana were dressed warmly and had a small store of food and water to get them through the night.
However, he said none of the involved parties were carrying fire starting supplies, which would have aided greatly in their comfort and rescue visibility. He said all three parties did have a communication device and were able to call for help, which did save hours of valuable search time.
Wampler said both recent rescues underscore the need for hikers to stay on the trail and, if there was snow blanketing the ground, retrace their exact footsteps back down the mountain. He said the Gorge terrain can be very inhospitable and outdoor enthusiasts should never attempt to follow a drainage downhill because, as in the cases of Brode, Sweet and Vemana, it might be laced with toppled trees, waterfalls and other natural barriers.
More like this story
- Sheriff awards search pilot following weekend rescue
- Sunny weather brings out hikers, rescuers
- Rescued hiker ate berries and bugs to survive
- ‘Reach and Treat’ bolsters search and rescue program
- Eagle Creek cliff jumpers land in pool of pain Sheriff Joe Wampler says Eagle Creek responsible for four to six rescue calls a month
- Boys lax suffers significant setback in league opener
- Letters to the Editor for April 30
- No on 14-55: But not a ‘yes’ to Nestlé
- ‘Putting your house in order’ returns May 11
- Police Log, April 12 to 24, part 2 of 2
- Sheriff Log, April 17 to 24
- ‘Music at the Dawn’ brings early 1900s to life
- Entertainment Update for April 30
- GOP governor candidates spar in Hood River
- Late rally falls short in HRV loss to Hermiston
Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive
The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge