Air Force Reserve Pararescuemen teamed up to rescue suicidal man atop Mount Hood
By Tech. Sgt. Kelly Goonan, 920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 27, 2018
MOUNT HOOD, Ore. --
A team of five Reserve Citizen pararescue Airmen partnered with the Oregon Army National Guard on a successful rescue of a climber who called for help atop Mount Hood in the midst of a suicide attempt July 13.
Because of the 11,000-foot altitude, the rescue was performed by an ANG Chinook helicopter crew landing its two rear wheels on the mountain while a plank was used for the rescuers and climber to walk into the aircraft, according to the Clackamas Country Sherriff’s Office.
"It's surreal," Tech. Sgt. Joshua Kruse, 304th Rescue Squadron pararscueman said of the summit rescue. "You just have to trust that the pilot knows what he's doing and that everyone is on the same page."
Kruse went on to explain that one of the most perilous issues about this particular rescue was keeping an eye on the helicopter blades. Further complicating the rescue was the rising temperatures of the summit. According to mountain-forecast.com, there was a high of 52-degrees predicted that day.
High temperatures are generally foreboding for Mount Hood climbers as rockfall tends to increase as snow and ice melt.
"During this time of day at this time of year - the mountain is just falling apart," Capt. Phil Cole, 304th Rescue Squadron, said. "You've got falling ice, falling rock to watch out for. To use an analogy it becomes like a bowling alley."
The whole operation, from the time the group took off from Welches until they returned, took 32 minutes and 4 seconds.
The climber was identified as a man in his 20s and was taken to a Portland-area hospital.