News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Multiple rescues on South Sister

South Sister beckons to hikers — and sometimes it leads them into trouble. In three incidents on Tuesday, July 13, rescuers responded to help hikers in distress.

At about 5:36 a.m., Deschutes County 911 received a phone call from Bob Sebulski who reported his 19-year-old daughter, Madison, was injured while hiking South Sister. Deschutes County dispatch was able to obtain accurate coordinates for the hiking party who were about 300 feet southwest of the peak of Lewis Glacier.

Nine Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteers, along with two deputies, responded to the call. AirLink was contacted and agreed to assist SAR with the rescue. AirLink transported two SAR medical team members from St. Charles Medical Center to the general area of the party’s location. At 8:35 a.m. they were able to reach and stabalize Sebulski. At the same time, the remaining SAR members began to hike to their location from the Devil’s Lake Trailhead. At about 10:20 a.m. the remaining SAR volunteers reached the group and began transporting Sebulski via wheeled litter down the trail to a safe landing zone.

AirLink was again contacted and agreed to respond and transport Sebulski to the hospital. At 1:13 p.m. AirLink transported her to St. Charles Medical Center - Bend with non-life-threatening injuries. The SAR volunteers then escorted her father back to the trailhead, arriving about 3 p.m.

That afternoon, rescuers were back on the mountain.

DCSO reported that the DCSO Special Services Unit was dispatched to an injured hiker on the South Sister Climbers Trail near the summit of South Sister at about 4:06 p.m. Dispatch was able to obtain accurate coordinates for the injured hiker which placed her near the summit of South Sister. Contact with the reporting party revealed Beverly Logan, 58, of Portland, was injured and would be unable to walk down the trail without assistance.

AirLink agreed to transport two SAR volunteers partially up the trail which would reduce the time and distance required to reach the patient. After attempting the flight, AirLink found weather/visibility conditions were so bad, they had to abort the flight.

Nine SAR volunteers then drove to the Devils Lake Trailhead and began the hike up to the South Sister summit. Two members of the team proceeding ahead of the main group were notified of a second hiker on the trail who had suffered an injury and would be unable to make it down the mountain without assistance. Janusz Jurski, 45, of Beaverton, was completely separate from the first patient and was found on the South Sister Climbers Trail just above Moraine Lake.

By approximately 9 p.m., SAR volunteers had made contact with and were providing care for both patients on the trail. The patients were separated by at least 1.5 miles of steep and rugged terrain, requiring the rescuers to exercise extreme caution. An additional seven DCSO SAR volunteers were summoned and responded to the scene to assist. Weather conditions had improved and AirLink responded to the scene to assist with extrication.

At 10 p.m., AirLink arrived in the area but found they were unable to get close to Logan for her removal. AirLink landed at a lower elevation and stood by for approximately three hours until SAR volunteers could move Logan to their location. After providing medical treatment and packaging her for transport, Logan was moved from an area of extreme elevation and angle using both hand and wheeled litter to the waiting AirLink helicopter. At approximately 2:57 a.m., Logan was released to the care of AirLink.

At the same time, SAR medical team members assessed Jurski’s condition and prepared the hiker for transport down the trail with a wheeled litter. After the patient was secured in the litter, he was carried about three miles down the trail to the trailhead where he was going to seek his own medical treatment. Jurski was released to his family at 2:45 a.m.

Deputy Kyle Joye, assistant SAR coordinator stated that, “The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank AirLink for their valuable help and assistance during this difficult rescue of two hikers.”


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