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Deschutes Co. SAR rescues two injured hikers


Spring weekends bring many Central Oregonians into the outdoors – where they can get into trouble, just like visitors can. And that made for a pair of rescues of injured hikers Saturday afternoon by Deschutes County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue – first on a steep trail at Smith Rock State Park, then by the falls at Lava Island southwest of Bend.

Shortly after 1 p.m., 911 dispatchers got a cellphone call from Laura Rosiello of Bend, reporting that her friend, Stacy McCullough, 40, of Terrebonne, had slipped on loose rock and injured herself while hiking on the Mesa Verde Trail, on the west side of Smith Rock, said sheriff’s Deputy Jim Whitcomb, assistant SAR coordinator.

The hikers had been on their way down a steeper section of the trail, south of Monkey Face, when the injury, reportedly to McCullough’s ankle, left her unable to continue the descent, Whitcomb said.

Redmond Fire Department paramedics responded first to the area, crossing the Crooked River by use of a large raft, then ferried 14 county SAR members after they arrived.

The medics evaluated McCullough, and she was placed on a wheeled litter and brought down the trail. On steeper segments, SAR members without hands on the litter acted as a walking belay.

The patient and personnel were ferried back across the river around 2:10 p.m. McCullough then was taken by ambulance to St. Charles Redmond for treatment of what Whitcomb called a minor, non-life-threatening injury.

Shortly before 4 p.m., the sheriff’s office was dispatched to a report of an injured hiker on rocky terrain on Lava Island, Whitcomb said.

Kayaker Mark Davis of Bend reported that Matt Deacon, 32, of Bend, had been in the area taking photos of him and three other kayakers going down Lava Island Falls when he slipped and fell. Davis said Deacon might not be able to walk out without injuring himself further.

The location was reported to be in a hard-to-reach area, and it was determined the SAR swift-water team might need to reach the scene by boat.

The 14 SAR members headed back to Bend from Smith Rock instead responded to the Meadow Camp Recreation Site, along with a SAR coordinator and a U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer.

The swift-water team members happened to be training at the First Street rapids in Bend and were sent to assist.

Arriving within minutes, the SAR teams were guided to the best access point to cross the Deschutes River to Lava Island, Whitcomb said.

Deacon’s injuries were assessed, and he was able to walk out with the assistance of SAR members. While the swift-water team’s boat was not needed, a hand line was placed across the river access point to aid in a safer crossing.

Deacon was taken by friends to St. Charles Bend for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, Whitcomb said.

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