Spokane Regional Air Support Unit (SRASU) Rescue 3 Video:
Hoist Rescue of Avalanche Victim, Table Rock Mountain, Columbia County
On December 2, 2022, at approximately 11:00 am, the assistance of the Spokane Regional Air Support Unit Rescue 3 helicopter and crew was requested by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
Rescue 3 responded, assisting with the rescue of an adult male caught in an avalanche near Table Rock Mountain, swept off his snow bike, and down the hillside. The victim was believed to have a broken or dislocated hip, requiring a hoist rescue from the location. This information was provided by other snow bikers who relayed the patient’s location.
Rescue 3’s aircrew consisted of Pilot Don Kresse, Pilot Jack Scanlon, Crew Chief (SCSO Detective) Chris Bylow, Helicopter Rescue Medic (SVFD Captain) Ray Moeckel, and Helicopter Rescue Medic (SVFD Captain) Chris Cornelius.
After about one hour of flight, Rescue 3 arrived and located the 47-year-old male patient. Helicopter Rescue Medic Moeckel was lowered to the ground by hoist, assessed the patient’s needs, and formulated a plan to safely extract him from the snowy mountainside.
It was decided an Air Rescue Extraction System (ARES) bag, similar to a litter, was needed to safely lift the patient from the location due to his injuries. The ARES bag was lowered to Helicopter Rescue Medic Moeckel on the ground, and the patient was hoisted off the hillside. He was transported to an awaiting Life Flight helicopter crew on a clear, flat mountaintop nearby.
Life Flight transported the patient to Providence St. Mary Hospital in Walla Walla, WA. for additional treatment.
As of December 5, 2022, the patient, who had suffered a broken femur near his hip, was out of surgery and scheduled to be released from the hospital after a short observation and evaluation period.