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Friday, November 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Washington

Helicopter crew responds to emergency beacon, lifts body out

By Asia Fields Seattle Times

The body of a 44-year-old hiker from the Seattle area was airlifted off Buck Mountain by a Navy helicopter rescue unit early Sunday morning, according to the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office.

The man’s body and two other hikers were found in a remote area on the east side of the mountain about 17 miles north of Lake Wenatchee after they activated an emergency beacon around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, said Chelan Sheriff Chief of Special Operations Jason Reinfeld. The body was lifted off the mountain around 12:40 a.m., he said.

The two other hikers, a 34-year-old Renton man and 33-year-old Mukilteo man, appeared to be uninjured and are hiking their way out, Reinfeld said. They reported they were traversing a steep face when the victim lost his footing and fell about 50 feet, Reinfeld said in a news release Sunday night. The two provided aid to the man before he succumbed to his injuries, the release said.

The hikers were found at a 6,750-foot elevation, Reinfeld said.

“I know from experience it’s quite a hike,” Reinfeld said. “It’s a long hike to get out of there.”

Chelan County and King County Sheriff’s helicopters were unable to land due to weather conditions Saturday night, so the Naval Air Station Whidbey Search and Rescue unit was brought in and was able to airlift the man’s body.

Due to low fuel in the rescue helicopter, he was taken to Boeing Field in Seattle, according to a press release.

The hike to Buck Mountain is a Class 3 hike and requires exposed scrambling, according to the Washington Trails Association, which recommends hikers have gear and experience.

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