A pair of teenage boys in Washington died during a hiking trip over the weekend when they made a fatal attempt to climb a rock near a waterfall.
The two teens, Ben Skagen, 18, and Andrew Lusink, 16, fell while trying to climb a large rock next to Washington State’s Otter Falls on Sunday night, reports The New York Daily News.
The two teens had gone hiking with Lusink’s brother Jeffrey, 18, and their friend Matthew McLinay, 18. After their fall, they were too hurt to leave the campsite. While Andrew had suffered from a bad leg break, Skagen was struggling to breathe, according to reports.
McLinay stayed with the hurt teens while Jeffrey ran five miles to get help. They were unable to call for help because they were in an area with no reception. Elmo Warren, who was there when Jeffrey came out of the woods calling for help, stated:
“His brother fell. And he could tell he was hurt really bad. They pulled them out of the water and got them out of the water. But of course they were soaking wet and cold. His brother was conscious, but his leg was broke clear off.”
Warren’s grandson was able to get enough cell phone reception, using a signal booster, to call 911, but emergency responders were too late by the time the reached the boys.
KIRO-TV notes that Sheriff’s Sargent Cindi West stated:
“This is a very tragic situation. There is no cell service in the area so it is likely that the Forest Service employee had to drive down the mountain to call 911.”
Both victims attended Christian Faith School, though Skagen graduated last year. On Monday, students and school staff members placed flowers at the sign in front of the school. They also held an assembly for students and parents on Monday morning for prayer, where Lusink’s aunt, Tracy Smith, recalled:
“They were smart but I guess lost their footing or something. They were wise boys. They weren’t mischevious or anything, they just loved life and so we just couldn’t believe it.”
Donations are being accepted at any Wells Fargo Bank branch under Andrew Lusink Memorial Benjamin Skagen Memorial. Formal memorial services are expected to be at Christian Faith Center in the coming days.