Bee sting victim and cliff jumper

Sheriff thanks volunteers, agencies for help in simultaneous rescues

August 27, 2005

Hood River County Sheriff Joe Wampler orchestrated two rescue operations at the same time on Thursday afternoon.

About 2 p.m. a cliff jumper sustained a hip injury at Lower Falls along the Eagle Creek trail near Cascade Locks. Within one hour of that emergency, a hiker at Tamanawas Falls along Highway 35 fell and hit his head during an allergic reaction to three bee stings.

Wampler was thankful that a third incident did not occur at the same time, or he would have had his resources stretched too thin. He said the U.S. Forest Service, Crag Rats, Cascade Locks Ambulance and Parkdale Fire Department all helped out at the scene within their respective jurisdictions.

Because of the high volume of recreation in the Gorge and on Mount Hood, Wampler is training each of his deputies to lead a search and rescue effort. He said that will allow him to turn over control to people at the scene and man a base camp if there are multiple problems occurring at once.

“It gets pretty busy around here, especially during the summer months, and we need to be ready for whatever comes our way,” said Wampler.

He said there have been six rescues involving cliff jumpers along Eagle Creek this year alone. It took five hours on Aug. 25 for emergency personnel to carry a Portland man in his 20s from the scene. He was then transported by Cascade Locks medics to the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland.

“That area is pretty remote and it is costing taxpayers a lot of money to get help in there. I plan to have a conversation with the Forest Service about this problem when the season is over,” said Wampler.

The Parkdale Fire Department sent 15 volunteers to transport the 60-year-old Hood River man from Tamanawas Falls to a waiting ambulance. He was then taken to Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital in Hood River for treatment of bee venom and a head laceration.

“This is bad time of year for bees and anyone allergic to stings should always carry an antidote kit to avoid a reaction,” said Wampler.

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