Members of Seaside Fire & Rescue and the Clatsop County High Angle Rescue Team have been honored for their combined efforts in the difficult and dangerous medical rescue of a man who fell attempting to climb Thompson Falls in July. The EMS Citation recognizes acts of organizations, units, or specially constituted teams in providing emergency pre-hospital care or EMS system support activites under extreme circustances.
On the afternoon of July 23rd Seaside Fire & Rescue was dispatched to the Thompson Falls area for a male patient that had fallen from the waterfall. Inital responders from Seaside pushed through heavy brush to reach the bottom of the falls. The patient could be seen sitting on a narrow ledge of the falls with water coming down all around him. Responders followed the game trail along the side of the falls and made their way to a rocky outcropping to find the patient partially submerged in a shallow pool. The patient had slipped while attempting to climb the face of the falls, tumbling some 50 feet to the outcropping, and narrowly avoiding another 30 feet to the bottom. Clatsop County's High Angle Rescue Team (HART) was called in at that point. Inital responders continued with a patient assessment and care placing him in a rescue basket and performing a needle decompression to help the man who complained of a breathing problem along with pain in his back, hip, neck and chest.
The HART team rigged ropes while perched on a slippery outcrop standing in knee-deep water with more water pouring in around them. After more than 90 minutes they were able to lift the man out to a waiting helicopter which lifeflighted him to Portland.