Monday, 2 May, 2016
On May 1, 2016 at approximately 8:45pm, the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call reporting a person may have fallen. The reporting party told dispatchers his friend, Bradlee Byfield, 26, of La Center, Washington had climbed over the guardrail and tried to reach a ledge. They cannot find or hear him now. The reported location was the USFS 90 Road near Cougar, Washington.
Deputies responded and confirmed the location as milepost 4, USFS 90 Road, approximately 6 miles east of Cougar, Washington. The on-scene Deputy was told by friends and family that Byfield had gone over the guardrail and jumped to grab a tree branch or attempted to brace himself with the branch. The branch broke and he fell an undetermined distance. They were unable to get a visual or verbal response. The Deputy requested additional resources and the Volcano Rescue Team/North County EMS (VRT/NCEMS) out of Yacolt, Washington responded.
Members of the VRT/NCEMS repelled over the cliff face and located Byfield, deceased, 180’ down from the roadway. Byfield’s body was recovered and turned over to the Skamania County Coroner’s Office. The injuries sustained were consistent with a fall from that distance, however the cause is still under investigation.
“The event was witnessed by his family and friends, which make this incident all that more tragic. Unfortunately these types of calls are becoming more and more common in our forests and recreational areas. They are also preventable,” said Undersheriff Pat Bond.