Man rescued from Oregon mountain after failed suicide bid

A helicopter lifted the man, who had earlier been found unhurt, and his six rescuers from the summit of Mount Hood in Oregon to safety.
A helicopter lifted the man, who had earlier been found unhurt, and his six rescuers from the summit of Mount Hood in Oregon to safety.PHOTO: KOIN 6

OREGON • A Texas man who scaled a mountain near Portland, Oregon, to kill himself there but changed his mind had to be airlifted to safety in a dramatic rescue captured on video.

The man, who was not identified, had driven from Texas last Thursday and ascended the snow-capped Mount Hood with no intention of descending, Koin 6 News reported.

While on the mountain, the man called people to inform them he was planning to die there, according to officials. This is not the first time that he has attempted suicide, they added.

"He ended up calling, basically saying he was up there, he was going to be taking some medication," said Sergeant Sean Collison of the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.

But help did not arrive immediately.

Mountain Wave Search & Rescue, a non-profit all-volunteer group, said they were notified at 5pm local time on Thursday to rescue a person. But the operation was delayed for safety reasons.

Mr Phil Cole, from an Air Force Reserve Command combat search and rescue unit based in Portland, said summer heat was melting the ice on the mountain, causing rocks to tumble down.

Rescuers reached the man the next morning and found him to be unhurt.

But he needed help to get down the mountain.

The Oregon Army National Guard deployed two helicopters to help in his rescue.

One of them, a Chinook, lifted the man and his six rescuers from the summit to safety.

In a jaw-dropping manoeuvre captured on video, the Chinook hovered at a height of around 3,350m with its tail end touching a steep snowy slope as rescuers helped the man climb into the chopper.

He was later taken away in an ambulance.

In February, one climber was killed after falling almost 300m on Mount Hood.

He was one of several climbers trapped on a trail surrounded by fallen ice and rock.

"This isn't your backyard hill. This is a mountain that is deadly," said Sergeant Brian Jensen of the Sheriff's Office.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 15, 2018, with the headline 'Man rescued from Oregon mountain after failed suicide bid'. Print Edition | Subscribe