Accident Database

Report ID# 4032

  • Impact/Trauma
  • Does not Apply
  • Other

Accident Description

Injured kayaker lifted to safety in dramatic rescue

By Dana Tims | The Oregonian/Oregon

April 17, 2016

A Coast Guard aircrew hoisted an injured kayaker to safety Saturday afternoon after he plunged 80 feet down Spirit Falls on the Little White Salmon River in Skamania County, Washington. The kayaker, a 24-year-old German national, was not immediately identified. He was flown directly to Oregon Health & Science University in Portland with reported symptoms of a broken back, according to a Coast Guard news release.

A call came in at 5 p.m. Saturday, requesting helicopter support to medically evacuate the man since the surrounding terrain was determined to be too steep for a ground rescue. A MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Astoria lifted the injured kayaker about 180 feet from the river below. "The terrain and the waters where this rescue took place were extremely treacherous," Petty Officer 2nd Class Aaron Eckstein, one of the aircrew aviation survival technicians who conducted the hoist, was quoted as saying in the release. "It was one of the most dynamic hoists I've ever done, but the efforts of local agencies and our crew allowed us to safely retrieve the kayaker and ensure he got to proper medical care."

Little White Salmon River is a tributary of the Columbia River located near Cook, Washington.

Dana Tims 503-294-7647; @DanaTims

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