Saturday 9 August, 2014
At approximately 2:00 PM this afternoon, searchers located male human remains near the 7100 foot level on the south slope of Mt St Helens. One of the search teams, comprised of members from the North Country EMS Volcano Rescue Team, Olympic Mountain Rescue, Hood River Crag Rats, and Seattle Mountain Rescue located remains consistent with a Japanese man that had been missing since 27 November, 2013. YOSUKE ONISHI, 27, was reported missing after not returning to the Lone Fir Resort in Cougar, WA to pick up his personal effects. Mr. ONISHI reportedly left the Lone Fir Resort on the morning of the 27th with the plan to go to the summit of Mt St Helens by way of the Climbers Bivouac. He never returned to the Lone Fir Resort.
The remains were located west of the normal south climbing route, and just below the crater rim. Personal effects located with the remains were consistent with what was reported to be with Mr. ONISHI at the time of his departure from the Lone Fir Resort last 27 November, 2013.
The search effort was a concerted effort by 13 different agencies from Washington and Oregon. Agencies that participated included the North Country EMS Volcano Rescue Team, Seattle Mountain Rescue, Olympic Mountain Rescue, Hood River Crag Rats, Mountain Wave SAR, Pacific NW SAR, Wind River SAR, Clark County SAR, Multnomah County Sheriff SAR, Silver Star SAR, SW Washington SAR, the SW Washington Region 4 All Hazards Incident Management Team, and the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office.
“We chose this weekend to do a final search because of the excellent weather forecast and the receding snow levels”, said Undersheriff Dave Cox. “The area where the remains were found was an area that was flown several times during the initial searches. It is an assumption that snow had kept him from view until the warm weather had set in, finally revealing his location.” The initial search focus areas today comprised of approximately 9 square miles of difficult terrain on the south slope of Mt St Helens, divided into 5 separate divisions. “We are extremely grateful to all of those that participated with this successful recovery today. They are all true professionals.”
The remains were removed from the mountain utilizing a helicopter from JL Aviation out of Boring, OR. The identification process of the remains by the Clark County Medical Examiner will begin this next week.
NOTE: DUE TO THE MOUNTANEOUS TERRAIN, I WILL NOT HAVE CELLULAR SERVICE TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS. THIS EMAIL IS BEING SENT BY SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS PROVIDED BY THE INCIDENT MANAGEMENT TEAM AND WILL BE GOING OFF LINE MOMENTARILY.
Thank you all.
Skamania County Sheriff’s Office