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I was backpacking in Olympic National Park, leaving Boulder Lake at the end of a 3-day trip. About half a mile from the lake, I fell down a ravine beside the trail about 20 feet deep. I don’t know how it happened; all I remember is rolling and bouncing uncontrollably, not stopping until I hit the stream at the bottom. My companion George came to my rescue, dressing a large open slash over my right eye, checking for other injuries and making sure I was warm, wrapped in my sleeping bag with a thermarest under me. He deployed the PLB at about 11:20 am and went for help from other hikers. Two headed off to the trailhead and others went up to Happy Lake Ridge to see if they could get cell coverage.
I had what turned out to be a fracture in the fibula at the ankle of my left leg and multiple cuts and bruises, but I was eventually able to crawl back up to the trail with the help of other hikers. George had done a lot of running around, going up and down the ravine to take care of me and finding people to help. Around 3:00 pm he started to get chest pains, which was very worrying. Two Olympic National Park search and rescue rangers arrived at about 4:00 pm and gave both of us first aid. They made plans for a helicopter rescue and at about 5:45 pm, a US Navy Seahawk helicopter arrived, lifted us both and took us to the Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles. They put my ankle in a splint and put 14 stitches in the gash over my eye. The doctors told George he had had a heart attack and kept him overnight in the intensive care unit. The next day he was flown to Victoria, British Columbia, where we live, and he was admitted to the cardiac unit. He got a stent and was released after three days.
Thank you ACR!
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