Helicopter Crashes During Mt Rainier Rescue Mission
Tuesday, June 25, 2002
Assembled from various news reports.
A helicopter crashed Tuesday on the Northwest Face of Washington's Mount Rainier during a rescue attempt for an injured climber.  The accident occurred almost one month after a rescue helicopter crashed on Oregon's Mount Hood.
According to initial news reports, a Jet Ranger helicopter hit nose first into the Carbon Glacier near the 8,800-foot mark on the mountain at the base of Liberty Ridge.  The chopper had earlier inserted two rescuers safely, but crashed with two others on board.  Luckily, the pilot and the two passengers were not seriously injured.
The operation was mounted to rescue an injured 19-year-old climber from Pennsylvania who was hit by a falling rock while climbing near 9,300 feet on Liberty Ridge.  The victim fell approximately 100 feet and sustained head and back injuries.  Fortunately, at least one of his climbing partners had professional medical training, so the victim was stabilized before rescuers made it to the scene.
According to a National Park Service spokesperson, eight climbing rangers reached the victim on foot, joining the two original rescuers.  Remarkably, the two rescuers involved in the helicopter crash continued up the mountain to join the 10 others in the mission.
The pilot of the downed chopper was airlifted in an Army Chinook helicopter that arrived later in the day.  That same Chinook helicopter will evacuate the injured climber Tuesday evening.