Rescuers say a man who fell 750 feet into a crevasse while climbing Oregon’s Mount Hood is lucky to be alive.
Michael Adams, 59, of Tualatin, Ore., suffered several fractures and was in serious condition Sunday after rescuers on a helicopter lifted him off the mountain on Saturday after he fell.
Adams slipped while at an elevation of 10,000 feet up the mountain. He then plummeted 750 feet down a slope, landing in a fumarole – essentially a crack in the mountain from which steam and sulfur gases from a volcano are vented.
Another climber reportedly saw him fall and called 911.
Fifteen members of Portland police department’s rescue team happened to be conducting a training exercise nearby when the call came in. Rescuers say it took their crew about 30 minutes to reach the stricken climber.
“This was definitely the most severe injuries I’ve experienced on a mission,” said rescue team leader Scott Norton. “We were very concerned that he might not make it.”
The rescue workers said Adams was unable to move but was able to talk.
Jerome Velosky, a climber, was on his way down from the summit when he saw rescue teams climbing up. They were asking for gear and manpower.
Velosky described Adams was “pretty beat up” with “obvious trauma” to his face.
Rescuers say it’s very dangerous to hike the mountain in warmer weather. Forty people have died while climbing the slope since 2000.
Earlier this month, Robert Cormier, a New Jersey priest, died from a fall while climbing on the northern face of the mountain.