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2 Hours, 2 Search & Rescues

29 August 2019 @ 1030 AM

 On Tuesday, August 27, 2019, The Skamania County Sheriff’s Office responded to 2 search & rescue missions, within 2 hours of each other, on the Pacific Crest Trail on different ends of the county.

 At 4:00PM, the Sheriff’s Office was notified, by a broken cell phone call, of an injured hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail, northwest of Trout Lake, Washington. The caller estimated their location as 1.5 north of the USFS 23 Road. We received a second call regarding an SOS/ELT activation from the same hiking group.

 A Skamania County Deputy SAR coordinator was dispatched to the scene and requests for additional SAR resources were made to include an air asset with hoist capabilities.

 While responders were enroute, a cell connection was made and alerted to the patient’s condition quickly deteriorating.  Emergency Medical response was requested and due to the location, an ambulance out of Dallesport, Washington was dispatched.

 SAR personnel were able to access the injured hiker, identified by passport, Finn Bastian, 28, of Preetz, Germany. He was extricated to the trailhead at which time CPR was initiated. Bastian was unable to be revived and died at the scene. His hiking partners, Larissa Stawicki, 27, of Lunburg, Germany and Melanie Teek, 38, had hiked from Mexico along the PCT to the Trout Lake area. According to Stawicki and Teek, they had reached a wooden bridge. While crossing, a large tree fell, striking Bastian. The tree in question was located and it appears to have rotted at the base causing it to fall.

At 6:43PM, the Sheriff’s Office was notified by the Washington State Department of Emergency Management of another ELT/SOS activation from a hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail, near Table Mountain, northeast of North Bonneville, Washington. The hiker, Shane Brown, 41, of Crescent City, California, relayed he was suffering from a stomach virus and was very weak and unable to walk. A Skamania County Deputy SAR coordinator was dispatched and resources from Wind River SAR and Clark County SAR were dispatched. A total of 22 SAR personnel responded and began the rescue. At 10:24PM the first group of responders reached Brown. He was packaged and littered back to the trailhead. At 12:58AM, Brown had reached an area in which SAR personnel could transfer care to Skamania County Emergency Medical staff. He was transported to a local area hospital for treatment.