Rescue Team Kept Busy In Columbia River Gorge With Three Search And Rescue Missions In Two Days — One Hiker Falls To Death Off Angel’s Rest Trail

The Columbia River Gorge has been seeing a lot of activity lately as rescue workers have been logging numerous hours of search and rescue missions, ending on Friday evening, as they attempted to locate and rescue several hikers who have been in danger along the stretch. Unfortunately though, one hiker died after falling from Angel’s Rest Trail.

Authorities dispatched the rescue crews on three separate missions beginning on Thursday night in a bid to rescue four persons who had been lost or injured while hiking. The first of the incidents involved a Texas firefighter, who had become separated from his crew while he and his friends had been hiking in the Columbia River Gorge, just east of Portland. Fortunately, reports have indicated that the Austin firefighter, 26-year-old Devin Paez, was found safe and, aside from some dehydration, is doing fine.

The search and rescue team had searched about 20 miles of trails and came up empty in their search as they had only a general idea of where the firefighter had gone after being separated from his three friends, two of whom are fellow firefighters. CBS local affiliate DFW reported that the rescue of the firefighter from the hiking trail came at the hands of a hiker who recognized Paez from reports that had been issued about him being missing.

The second instance of rescue crews being dispatched to the Columbia River Gorge because of a hiker came around 10 a.m. on August 26, when deputies from Multnomah County sheriff’s office and firefighters from Corbett were called. Captain Steve Alexander, who is a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, told the media that in this case their hopes of a successful rescue were slightly dampened by the fact that the hiker in this case had tumbled approximately 40 feet off the side of Angel’s Rest trail, close to a small waterfall.

One of the reasons that the trails in the Mt. Hood National Forest are so popular is that the 2.2 miles of trials offer spectacular views of the Columbia River and has a moderate rating in terms of difficulty.

The man allegedly fell from the trail at about 9:45 Friday morning, according to his hiking companion, who called 911 and described exactly where they were on the trail and also placed several markers down. Alexander said that when the authorities reached the pair, the rope rescue technical team took life-saving steps in an attempt to revive him but unfortunately he died as a result of his injuries. The death is being investigated by detectives and the body is scheduled to undergo an autopsy through the Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s Office.

At this time the name of the deceased is being withheld from the public pending notification of the man’s family, but authorities did reveal that the man was in his 30s.

The third tale of hikers lost along the Columbia River Gorge occurred a few hours after the man who died and also involved a couple. Fortunately, it had a happier ending. The two hikers wandered off the path to Angel’s Rest hiking trail after they said they followed in the footsteps of another group and ended up on an unmarked trail. The two are not from the area.

According to KOIN the two hikers have been identified as 20-year-old Deaven Thielen and Lyndale Galino, 19. The couple said that they ended up in a very steep area and soon realized that it must be rock slide territory as the more they tried to scale the rocks in front of them the rocks kept breaking off and falling on them. Recognizing the dangers, they decided to stay put on the unfamiliar trail and contact the police. Authorities began working on getting the pair to safety at about 3 p.m. and by 6 p.m., they were off the trails. Rescue teams were able to bring them down using rope and harnesses.

In total, about 80 persons from multiple agencies were out on the trails aiding the deputies in the two rescue missions yesterday. Approximately 1 million people visit the Columbia River Gorge each year and rescuers say that more often than not, the hikers who end up in trouble are those who are not from the area. Deputies from the Multnomah County sheriff’s office have sought to remind anyone going hiking to properly research their routes beforehand, avoid leaving the trails, carry necessary supplies, as well as nourishment, and to always tell someone where exactly they intend to go and when to expect them back.

The hiker’s death yesterday’s is said to have been the third this month which involved either climbers or hikers who had been on the Oregon side of the gorge.

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